England's Phil Salt ready to 'take opportunity with both hands' if he replaces Ben Stokes in ODI side
Phil Salt could replace Ben Stokes in England's 50-over middle order following latter's retirement from format; England face South Africa in second ODI on Friday, live on Sky Sports (coverage starts at 12.30pm, first ball at 1pm); Proteas lead three-match series 1-0
Last Updated: 22/07/22 12:46pm
Phil Salt will be looking to "take his opportunity with both hands" if he replaces Ben Stokes in England's one-day international middle order.
Stokes announced his retirement from 50-over cricket on Monday with Tuesday's 62-run defeat to South Africa in Durham his 105th and final game in the format.
Salt, the spare batter in the England squad, has opened in each of his six ODIs to date, with the Lancashire man hitting a hundred, against Netherlands earlier this summer, and two fifties.
However, the right-hander has batted in the middle order in his four T20I appearances and believes he can adapt his game if given the nod in the second ODI at Emirates Old Trafford on Friday, live on Sky Sports.
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Salt said: "It's very obvious that whenever you get an opportunity to play for England you have to take it with both hands.
"It's my first chance being around it with a full-strength squad and being in the conversation for being in the XI so that's exciting. I have been on the fringes for a while so I want to get in there and show what I can do.
"Netherlands, West Indies, Pakistan - I have proven to people and myself that I can do it. Now it's about going out there and doing it again and I will slot in wherever the opportunity comes.
"I am very aware that the best players in the world can bat anywhere, the ones who can adapt, improvise and find different ways of getting the job done from all situations.
"The skill is reading the scoreboard and conditions and assessing what you need to do - I think it's as simple as that."
'Roy-Bairstow best opening partnership in 50-over cricket'
Salt opened with Jason Roy during the ODIs in the Netherlands in May due to Jonny Bairstow's Test commitments.
Roy and Bairstow, England's World Cup-winning opening partnership from three years ago, are now reunited and Salt knows it will be tough to break up an alliance that has "changed the way" ODI cricket is played with their aggressive intent at the top of the order.
Salt said: "[Roy and Bairstow] are the best opening partnership in 50-over cricket, there is no doubt about that. Look at the numbers, the way they play, the way they have changed how the game is played.
"A lot of people in international cricket want to copy them and follow how they play. They set the template for how you are going to have to play if you want to play for England.
"Everyone in the country who bats in my position will have seen what they are doing and tried to emulate it, keep pushing the boundaries and taking it further."
Stokes' ODI retirement came just weeks after captain Eoin Morgan stepped down from all international cricket with England now in "a bit of a transition phase", according to new skipper Jos Buttler.
England's defeat to South Africa in the series opener at Chester-le-Street means they have now lost three of their last four ODIs - and been bowled out in each of them.
Salt added: "We have lost a couple of senior players and leaders but we still have a lot of senior players and leaders so I don't think too much has changed in terms of how we want to play.
"Losing Stokesy and Morgy does have an impact - they played such vital roles in winning the World Cup - but we have to keep moving forward. We have all the senior players and leaders we need.
"I don't think there is any turned-up pressure in the dressing room. We know what we need to do and how good we are.
"It's about getting your chest out, crossing the line and proving it again and again. That is what made this squad world champions."
Phehlukwayo to miss rest of ODI series
In news from the South Africa camp, all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo will miss the final two ODIs due to concussion protocol after his early exit from the series opener in Durham.
The all-rounder collided with captain Keshav Maharaj in the field, banging his head against Maharaj's shoulder early in England's failed run chase, and was replaced by Dwaine Pretorius.
Phehlukwayo will now hope to be fit for the three-match Twenty20 international series against England, which starts in Bristol on Wednesday.
See if England can level the three-match ODI series against South Africa, at Emirates Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event on Friday. Coverage begins at 12.30pm with the first ball at 1pm.