HAMPSHIRE veteran Dimi Mascarenhas has been named as the Melbourne Stars’ shock replacement for Sri Lankan international Lasith Malinga for today’s crucial Aussie Big Bash t20 contest against Sydney Thunder.

The 35-year-old, who has played 20 one-day internationals and 14 t20s for England, was a last-minute replacement for Malinga after the latter was withdrawn from the fixture to prepare for Sri Lanka’s first 50-over clash with Australia at the same venue on Friday night.

The Stars need to win to assure themselves of a semi-final berth, which would enable controversial suspended captain Shane Warne – Mascarenhas’ former Hampshire skipper - another chance to play.

Mascarenhas had been playing his wares for Prahran in Premier League club cricket since the beginning of December, scoring 142 runs at 47.33, and taking six wickets at 16.33.

Apart from his links to Warne, Mascarenhas is also well known to the Stars squad via star batsman David Hussey, a teammate at IPL side King's XI Punjab.

He will be returning to that franchise in April, but Hussey will be hoping a Test call-up means he is needed for international duties.