Phil Salt feels better than ever after T20 travels

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Phil Salt says he has been learning fast on his travels.

He was happy to put it all into practice to keep Sussex in with a chance of an opening win.

Salt, who spent part of his winter playing Twenty20 and T10 overseas, was out in the first over of the new Championship season.

But he responded with a hard-hitting 80 from 67 balls on Saturday in Sussex’s second innings against Leicestershire.

Sussex kept themselves in the contest despite slumping to 36-5 in the first hour of the season on Friday.

Salt, one of the men to go early, said: “We had a good chat about the way we played on the opening day and we wanted to come back strong.

“I was happy with the way I played (on Saturday). I never think about the last ball or the next ball.

“I got a good ball in the first innings – Chris Wright has played a lot of cricket. “So many factors favour the bowlers at the start of an innings so it’s nice to put the pressure back on them, which is what I try to do.

“It also helps to have the right-hander and left-hander at the top of our order.”

Salt hit 11 fours and a hooked six off Will Davis as he and opening partner Tom Haines made light work of a first innings deficit of 79.

That trademark attacking spirit was further developed of late in the Pakistan Super League.

Salt said: “It was different wickets, different types of bowlers. Reverse swing is massive over there, the spinners are really good.

“The standard of bowling is really high, one of the best in the world, but I learnt loads.

“I got close to the right people, I understood how they go about it, took bits of their games and put it into mine.

“The basics are the same. You have so much more time of course so it is just about finding the rhythm again and being comfortable batting a period of time.”

Salt also got involved in some T10 action, which was an eye-opener.

He said: “It’s pretty mental. It’s crash, bang, wallop and you are done.

“You are out there for an hour or so at best.

“You have just got to see it for yourself.

“It is so fast-paced. It really puts a strain on your athleticism in the field and bowlers executing skills.

“I really enjoyed it. It’s interesting.

“I’m not sure T10 will take off as a league thing around the world but it is certainly going to affect the way T20 is played.”

Salt expects to improve on his efforts of last season, when he came good after a tough opening period.

He said: “It was my first full season. Opening is not something I had done so I had to learn pretty quickly.

“I had a lot of top bowlers get me out – Mohammad Abbas and those sorts of guys.

“They used their experience back against me whereas now I know when to sit in, I know when to put the pressure back on the bowler.

“There are all little things like that. They aren’t massive wholesale changes you need to make.

“You just need to tweak your game and go up and down the gears.”

Sussex have gone into what has turned out to be testing first fixture with high hopes among their supporters.

Many of those hopes will hinge on Salt making top-order runs but he is keen not to think too far ahead.

He said: “I just want to make match-winning performances.

“I don’t like setting goals too far into the future.

“When you do that, you lose track of the here and now and that is what is most important in cricket.

“I think promotion, with three going up, this year would be the year.

“We want to win the division if we are being honest. That might sound a bit greedy but who knows?

“The thing with cricket, though, is staying in the here and now.

“We haven’t gone into this game thinking ‘right then, promotion!’.

“That’s not how it works. Focus on one ball at a time, an over at a time, a session at a time.

“Keep winning those little things and eventually that will stack up.”

Sussex face a battle to win this one but Salt, with the top score in the match so far, has given them a chance.





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