Dalrymple eyes IPL rewards
Jamie Dalrymple believes the prospect of a move to the IPL will ensure the big boys are on form in this season's domestic Twenty20 competition.
The newly rebranded Friends Life t20 gets under way on Wednesday in what will be the ninth season of domestic competition in the shortest form of the game.
Since the format's introduction in 2003 it has taken the world by storm, particularly in India where the IPL is big business.
And while by and large English players are yet to make their mark in the subcontinental tournament, Dalrymple admits the prospect of catching the eye and earning a contract there lends an extra edge to proceedings here.
"The Twenty20 comes round after some very intense championship cricket for everyone and it's a chance to let off some steam and express yourself," the Middlesex all-rounder told Sky Sports News. "Ultimately I guess most of the batters are just looking to show off in front of some big crowds.
"People are learning more and more about it. It used to be that we just turned up and saw how it went on the day. Now there's a lot more preparation involved.
"It's taken very seriously, the rewards are big; players can get themselves in the shop window for the IPL for instance, so it's a change, I think, more than a break."
Dalrymple returned to Middlesex this summer following three years - including two as captain - at Glamorgan, who Middlesex face in their tournament opener in Cardiff on Friday.
And, with Middlesex third in Division Two of the County Championship, breathing down the necks of his former employers, he is happy to be home.
"I've enjoyed it," he said. "The guys have had a good start to the season. It's good to come into a side that's winning.
"It's down to me now to make a positive impact in the Twenty20 and going forward.
"It's somewhere I know well, I was there a long time, and it's something I want to be a part of: a successful Middlesex team."
Dalrymple is only just back in action following ankle surgery, but he said: "The ankle's not something in my mind. I've been lucky - it's gone quite well. You move on past it and you forget about it.
"It doesn't affect me at the moment so I certainly don't have that as an excuse. I've got to be ready to go on Friday when we start."
Champions Hampshire, who beat Essex in last year's final, open their campaign against Somerset at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday in the tournament curtain-raiser.
With his side struggling near the bottom of Division One in the championship and without a win to their name, Dominic Cork is looking forward to a change of scenery.
He said: "I'm a bit like Sepp Blatter at the moment in Hampshire: crisis, what crisis?
"We've not won a game yet so obviously it's a great time to be playing this competition and we've got a big ask this year to start with a big game against Somerset."