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Phil Salt hopes to play a role in Vitality Blast quarter-final against Essex Eagles

Phil Salt hopes to play a role in Vitality Blast quarter-final against Essex Eagles
Phil Salt hopes to play a role in Vitality Blast quarter-final against Essex Eagles
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Lancashire’s Phil Salt will wait in hope he might yet get a say in the destiny of Friday night’s Vitality Blast quarter-final against Essex Eagles, however for the 25-year-old, that ultimately comes as a result of his own individual successes.

The 25-year-old made an emergency England debut last summer before impressing in Barbados on his T20 debut for England in January. But it was his maiden international hundred in Amsterdam last month that demonstrated exactly why he has been rewarded with another call up to the national squad for the limited overs fixtures against India.

After coming through the academy system at Hove, Salt took the opportunity to return to Manchester last summer, where he spent a period of his childhood before his family moved to Barbados. It was a decision influenced by a number of reasons, not least the desire to win trophies.

“Oh, my time at Lancashire has been brilliant so far,” Salt said.

“The whole vibe around the club is very different to what I’ve been used to previously, in that we’re there to win. And that’s the bottom line for me at the moment.”

Salt played in 11 of Lancashire’s group games, missing the other three due to England duty in the Netherlands where he finished as the joint top-scorer of the one-day international series with 248 runs, alongside his new England captain Jos Buttler.

And with the quarter-final scheduled in the middle of England’s Vitality IT20 series with India, alongside his Lancashire counterparts in Liam Livingstone, Matt Parkinson, Richard Gleeson and Buttler, the likelihood is that they will all be watching on with keen eyes from Birmingham on Friday night.

Unless, they are granted permission from the England squad to leave - like David Willey was for Yorkshire Vikings on Wednesday against Surrey - and that’s something the 25-year-old hasn’t ruled out yet.

"There is a possibility but that decision’s going to be up to the medical team to make,” he said.

“But if that window does open up, and there is a chance then I’d definitely love to go back and play in a home quarter for Lancs.”

At Lancashire, Salt arrived after the departure of Alex Davies to Warwickshire last summer. And despite having not kept in a four-day match until before this season, he has quickly cemented his status as the first-choice gloveman at Emirates Old Trafford.

“To be honest, it was the kind of opportunity that I’ve been after for a while, to go to a county like Lancashire and to say the you’re the number one across all formats,” says Salt.

After Yorkshire’s nail-biting win on Wednesday night at the Kia Oval, the prospect of a Finals Day clash with the old enemy is certainly a tantalising one. In the 20-year history of the competition, the pair have never met before on Finals Day and after two thrilling encounters in the group phase in front of packed crowds, a win for Lancashire would set up a semi-final against Yorkshire at a sold-out Edgbaston next Saturday.

“It was so good to shut their fans up at their place,” Salt said.

“And the tie at Old Trafford was a great game. I think the rivalry is pretty cool to be fair. In fact, I don’t think there’s many bigger rivalries in domestic cricket from my experience other than maybe something like Lahore and Karachi.”

For Salt, it’s a bittersweet moment knowing that Friday’s encounter is likely out of his hands after falling short with Sussex at the semi-final stage last season.

Whether or not they’re allowed to make the dash up the M6 on Friday, he’s quietly optimistic that his teammates will seal Lancashire’s spot for Finals Day.

“Of course you want to be there winning these kinds of games for your club and getting into finals but I’m pretty confident we’ll get that crack at Finals Day,” he said.

“Our record at home is pretty good (Lancashire are undefeated at home in the competition) so I reckon the boys will do the job.”