Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth
AUS v WI (1)
PAK v ENG (1)
IND-A in BAN (1)
AUS-W in IND (1)
ENG-W in WI (1)
AUS v SA (1)
CWC League 2 (1)
Opening batter Phil Salt hopes his new home ground in Perth can help him apply further pressure for a T20 World Cup berth as England prepare for a warm-up clash with Australia at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
Salt has fond memories of playing at the 60,000-seat ground in Burswood, which is hosting international cricket for the first time since late 2019, having smashed 59 off 31 balls for Adelaide Strikers against Perth Scorchers in January 2020.
His destructive, hard-hitting batting appears perfectly suited for a traditionally quick Optus Stadium pitch and outfield, which often fuels high-scoring BBL games. Calculating defending champions Scorchers made a shrewd decision after selecting Salt with pick No. 19 in the inaugural BBL draft in August.
"Expecting it to be fast and bouncy. It's a good wicket to bat, suits my game," he told reporters on Friday. "The boundaries are pretty big square and generally does suit the guys who are stronger square of the wicket."
Salt plans to meet with Scorchers officials ahead of Sunday's match, but in the meantime his focus is building on his Player-of-the-Match 88 not out against Pakistan in the sixth T20I in Lahore, which revived his T20 World Cup hopes after a grim run of form netted just 59 runs in five innings.
Having opened in Pakistan in place of injured skipper Jos Buttler, Salt appears slightly behind Alex Hales, who has long dominated the BBL, in the pecking order and looms as a likely spare batter in England's T20 World Cup squad. "Not too sure right now," Salt said when asked if he had been given clarity on his role in Australia. "It's not a conversation we've had yet."
With a golden opportunity to further impress in the series opener against a weakened Australia attack, Salt said he would pick the brain of team-mate and former Scorchers star Liam Livingstone for added insight.
"Obviously he's done really well here and it would be silly not to lean on him on exactly how to play these conditions," he said.
After a thrilling 4-3 T20 series victory in their long-awaited return to Pakistan, a buoyant England are feeling upbeat ahead of the World Cup where they enter as one of the favourites.
It's been a low-key start to their campaign with players and staff staggering their arrivals to Perth this week and they hit the nets at Optus Stadium for a light session on Thursday morning to launch a hectic tour Down Under.
While this three-match warm-up series against old foe Australia probably lacks the traditional punch, Salt believed there was still a lot at stake with game one set to be played in front of a 30,000 crowd on Sunday afternoon.
"It's a series to win and we've got an eye on the World Cup," he said. "It's very important to keep the momentum rolling after Pakistan. To beat them in their own conditions...that's very tough to do.
"We played with a lot of guys who hadn't played much international cricket so we're pretty happy with how that went. We want to keep the ball rolling and continue the momentum."