Dimi calls for final effort
Dimitri Mascarenhas is hoping England can end a difficult winter by winning the ODI series decider in West Indies.
Last Updated: 30/03/09 6:16pm
Dimitri Mascarenhas is hoping England can end a difficult winter on a high note with victory in Friday's one-day series decider against West Indies in St Lucia.
The tourists chased down a revised target of 135 in 20 overs to win the rain-interrupted fourth ODI by nine wickets in Barbados on Sunday.
That result put the series level at 2-2 ahead of the final match and represented a remarkable change of fortune for Mascarenhas, who claimed 3-26 as England restricted West Indies to 239-9 in 50 overs before the rain caused a two-hour delay at the Kensington Oval.
The Hampshire skipper's fortunes had been at a low ebb having been hammered for 24 in one over by Chris Gayle during West Indies' crushing eight-wicket triumph in the third ODI on Friday - just three three matches after forcing his way back into England's limited-overs plans.
The 31-year-old's international career appeared to be over when he was overlooked for England's home series against South Africa last summer and the tour to India before Christmas.
"That's just the game of cricket," enthused Mascarenhas, who was born in London but brought up in Australia.
"Chris Gayle is an amazing player as he showed again yesterday and I was fortunate enough not to have to bowl to him.
"I just keep trying to do what I do best, put the ball on the spot, change the pace a little bit and hopefully pick up a few wickets and not go for many runs.
"One day you can go for a few and the next day you can get three for 20, that's just how it is. To be honest, I didn't actually do anything different in the two games.
"If you haven't already been hit for 24 or 30 in an over or whatever it is, at some stage in your career you're going to get hit for that - that's just what happens as a bowler.
"I don't think too many guys really get down about going for a few runs. It's going to happen and you're going to come out better for it anyway."
The same applies to the England team as a whole, who reacted to the third ODI hammering by cancelling the day off planned for the following day and instead holding a practice session and team meeting.
"It was a pretty humiliating loss (on Friday), we got absolutely pumped," admitted Mascarenhas. "As professional sportsmen no one ever wants to lose, we're desperate to win every game and to lose like that is pretty embarrassing.
"Everyone was very happy at turning it around in a huge way, it was a pretty convincing win. We've shown what we can do, we've just got to keep repeating that.
"It hasn't been the best of winters for the England cricket team as yet, but we've got a really huge chance next Friday to turn that right around and come away with a series win in the West Indies which would be a great effort."
On the series decider, Mascarenhas added: "We've got four or five days now to get our heads around what's required in the next game.
"There might be different conditions and all those sorts of things are a factor, but we'll go into that game with a lot of confidence knowing we're up and we can beat these guys.
"If we play our game we can beat them, but we need to play our game - we can't play anybody else's. If we play to our strengths we can go out there and beat the West Indies on their home turf."
England are monitoring Kevin Pietersen, who limped out of Sunday's victory with a back spasm, while all-rounder Andrew Flintoff will be assessed over the next two days after injuring his left thumb in the field.
An ultra-sound at the ground confirmed Flintoff had not suffered a fracture but he may be sent for a further scan if his condition does not improve.