Phil Salt channels IPL snub into record-breaking showing for England

By Sports Desk December 19, 2023

Phil Salt was taken aback at being overlooked in the Indian Premier League auction but used the snub as motivation to inspire England to a T20 series-levelling victory over the West Indies.

While England team-mates Chris Woakes and Harry Brook saw their bank balances given a healthy top-up after going under the hammer in Dubai on Tuesday, there were no takers for Salt among IPL franchises.

Salt made a couple of fifties in his debut season earlier this year, striking at 163.91 in nine matches for Delhi Capitals, so he was aggrieved to wake up in the Caribbean and find he had attracted no bids.

 

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But three days on from a match-winning century in Grenada, Salt thumped an England T20 record 119 off 57 balls in Trinidad as the tourists set up a winner-takes-all showdown at the same venue on Thursday.

“It was a confusing morning,” Salt said after England’s 75-run thumping win in the fourth T20. “I expected to be picked up, having gone there last year and done well and after the year that I’ve had.

“I was a bit confused but it can happen. It’s part of a lottery of an auction, it happens in draft processes as well. There’s no bad cricketers on the list at the IPL.

“There’s a few lads in our dressing room who are going to have a very good Christmas and I’m over the moon for them.

“We’re very lucky with what we do. There have been a few things recently that have maybe put it in perspective. I’m just here enjoying my cricket and cracking on.”

As for whether he channelled his frustration at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba to underpin England’s highest ever T20 total of 267 for three, Salt admitted his IPL omission may have played its part.

“It was probably a little bit of it, subconsciously,” he said, before reiterating: “I’m very aware of how lucky I am to be here playing cricket.”

The foundations for England’s gargantuan total were laid by a second successive century partnership between Salt and Jos Buttler, who contributed 55 to a 117-run stand in 9.5 overs before holing out.

Liam Livingstone thumped the last of England’s 20 sixes – equalling their record in T20s – with half of them coming from Salt, who is the first man from the country to make more than one ton in the format.

Salt opens the batting for Lancashire in the Vitality Blast and for Manchester Originals in The Hundred alongside England captain Buttler, who apparently keeps his junior partner in check.

“When we’re in the middle, it’s more getting me back in my box,” Salt said. “It’s either ‘you’re doing really well’ or ‘drop it down a gear’.

“We’ve had some good conversations away from the game, we’ve enjoyed spending time around each other as a group so we’re going nicely.”

The Windies were left with not much choice but to hit the ground running from ball one and while they themselves collected 14 sixes of their own, they were all out for 192 in 15.3 overs.

Reece Topley claimed three for 37 while there were a couple of wickets apiece for Sam Curran and Rehan Ahmed and one each for Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid as England levelled the series at 2-2.

“The boys have really pulled together and shown what a good team we are,” Salt added. “To win back-to-back games and force the decider in a couple of days’ time, I’m chuffed.”

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