Phil Salt believes he has a key ally in new England white-ball head coach Matthew Mott following a maiden international hundred.
The pyrotechnics of Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone that carried England to a world record 498 for four in the first one-day international against the Netherlands on Friday will live long in the memory, but it was Salt, in particular, who laid the foundations for an enormous total in Amstelveen.
He might have gone into his shell after the early dismissal of Jason Roy but instead elected to meet the minnows head-on with a series of eye-catching drives and a couple of self-assured pulls for six.
In just his fourth ODI, having been given the chance by Jonny Bairstow’s unavailability because of his Test commitments, the end result was a sparkling 122 from 93 balls in a 222-run partnership with Dawid Malan which changed the complexion of the series opener as England won by 232 runs.
Having been in and around the England white-ball set-up for the last three years, Salt is well aware of Eoin Morgan’s attack-minded philosophy and suspects Mott is singing from the same hymn sheet.
“He certainly likes the way that I play,” Salt said of the Australian coach. “I don’t think anything is too dissimilar from the brand of cricket that we’re going to play.
“It’s pretty self-explanatory what you need to do if you want to play for England. If you want to play for Morgs, you have to play a certain type of way and he’s very clear with that.
“It’s as simple as knowing that when I get the opportunity, I’ve got to perform and I’ve got to do well. That’s how it’s going to work if you want to have a long England career.”
Salt accepts one encouraging innings will not be enough to dislodge the Roy-Bairstow axis when both are available, an opening partnership that averages 57.67 with a staggering 13 100-plus stands in 49 innings and was so instrumental to England’s 2019 World Cup win.
But while he will retain his place in Sunday’s second match and Wednesday’s finale, both in Amstelveen, he is content to bat anywhere in the top order if it means he retains his spot.
He said: “It’s something I’ve been taken aback by, almost, in previous years, coming into the England squad: the skill level, the intensity. I’m a lot closer to that now than I was a couple of years ago.
“Every time you put on an England shirt is an honour, I want to keep doing that. If I can keep doing stuff like that and keep putting my name in the hat, hopefully I will give the selectors a headache.
“You can’t bat everywhere, can you? I’d love to get as many games as possible for England. For me, it doesn’t matter where. I’ll always do the best I can to perform, put my hand up and win games for the side.”
Salt, whose only previous ODI experience came last summer when he played all three matches as part of a shadow squad that beat Pakistan, admitted his only wobble on Friday came as he approached his century.
He added: “It was a bit of a strange one. When I was on about 80, I was looking up at the scoreboard and I was thinking about it, and you can’t do that as a batter.
“So in my head, I sort of shifted that number and thought 100 doesn’t really matter, 150 will matter – and the rest.
“It’s a great feeling to contribute to such an incredible performance. I’m very proud of it and it’s even more special to get my first hundred for England. Hopefully I can keep doing that in this series.”
England expect Livingstone to be available for the second ODI after he was assessed on Saturday. The batting all-rounder felt some tightness in his calf following an explosive 66 not out from 22 balls, which meant he was off the field for some of the Netherlands’ reply.
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