Phil Salt tells an amusing story about involving Gary Sobers and an Indian takeaway – but he is deadly serious about carving a career for himself at Sussex.
The 19-year-old was born in the North Wales village of Bodelwyddan, but spent his formative years in Barbados – which is where the incident involving the island’s favourite son took place.
“I was in an Indian restaurant with Gary Sobers and picked up his takeaway by mistake when I left,” he revealed. “It wasn’t until I got home that I realised what had happened and my Dad went mad – Sobers is a legend in Barbados – so I had to take it back!”
Salt’s parents had moved to Barbados because of work when he was ten and there is certainly a hint of Caribbean flamboyance in the way he bats. But he owes a lot to former Surrey bowler Keith Medlycott, who took Salt under his wing when he returned to England on a scholarship to Reed’s School in Cobham, Surrey.
“I still talk to him a lot to this day and have sessions with him,” said Salt. “He does a lot for my cricket and we’re in touch a lot.”
Medlycott recommended Salt to Sussex and after some impressive performances in the 2nd XI he was given a junior contract last October along with Stuart Whittingham and George Garton. Those two have already made their mark in Sussex’s Championship team and now Salt, who plays club cricket for Brighton & Hove, is doing the same in white-ball cricket.
“At the start of the season I was told to score runs in the seconds, become more consistent and eventually I would get a chance,” said Salt.
He shared in a stand of 125 in 18 overs with the experienced Ross Taylor against Middlesex in the Royal London One-Day Cup and it was the quality of Salt’s stroke-play which caught the eye.
“It was great fun to be out there and get a win under our belt,” said Salt. “(Captain) Luke Wright told me to play with freedom and I’m glad I was able to do so. I guess it’s some of my Caribbean upbringing.
“The partnership with Ross was brilliant. He’s got so much experience and he gave me so much valuable advice.”
Salt might not have played on Sunday had the game not been reduced to 32 overs and Wright opted to play him instead of Ed Joyce. He made 20 against Surrey at Guildford on Tuesday and is now targeting a place in the T20 team, having made his debut in Sussex’s opening-night win over Gloucestershire.
“I am in the team now and I have to try to make myself undroppable,” he added.
Sussex visit Hampshire in the T20 on Friday (June 17) evening.
by BRUCE TALBOT
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