Phil Salt happy to ‘slot in wherever’ for England as burgeoning career continues

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 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Phil Salt is relishing an opportunity in England’s ODI team, even if he accepts that a crack at his favoured opening role will have to wait.

Salt’s international career to date has brought him appearances in ODI and T20 cricket when England were understrength due to scheduling clashes or Covid-19 outbreaks. In his most recent series, against the Netherlands last month, he made his maiden ODI century.

Now, with Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes retired, he is set to be given first go at a place in the top six in tomorrow’s Second ODI against South Africa at Old Trafford, now his home ground after his move from Sussex to Lancashire. He has roots in the Manchester area, and it is where he first watched cricket as a youngster.

He is likely to come in at No4 or below, with Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow a dominant force at the top of the order. The pair have a formidable record together for England that includes 14 stands of more than 100. Salt admits they acted as an inspiration for the way he plays.

“It's my first time being in around it with the full strength squad, being in the conversation for being in the 11 so that's exciting,” he said. “I'm excited if the opportunity does come and I'll be looking to take it.

“It’s very obvious at the minute that whenever you get an opportunity to play for England - we’re world champions in this format - you have to take it with both hands.

“I'm slotting in wherever the opportunity comes. It [Roy and Bairstow] is the best opening partnership in 50 over cricket. There's no doubt about that. Look at the numbers and the way they play and the way they've changed how the game is played.

“There's a lot of people in international cricket that want to copy them and follow how they play. So in my opinion, they've set the bar for a good few years now. But wherever my opportunity comes, that's where it comes.

“Definitely they set the template for how you want to play if you're going to play for England, it's as simple as that. I think, you know, everybody who bats in my position around the country would have seen what they're doing and tried to emulate that and, you know, try to keep pushing the boundaries and taking it further.”

Salt is desperate to prove his adaptability.

“I'm very aware that the best players in the world can bat anywhere,” he said. “You see that looking around the top domestic leagues, the best players are the ones that can adapt, improvise and find different ways of getting the job done from all situations."

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