Salter's back - and raring to go!

Andrew Salter and Fraser WatsonIn the first in a series of monthly interviews that will take place with throughout his 2021 campaign, Andrew Salter talks to Fraser Watson on a strange pre-season, empty stadiums, and a Hundred reasons to shine this summer: 
Following the strangest of pre-seasons, Andrew Salter is clearly grateful for small mercies.  
“The sun’s been out this week, so being able to feel my fingertips again when bowling has been nice.”  
Mind you, negotiating the fluctuating Welsh weather has probably been perversely welcomed by the 27-year-old and his Glamorgan teammates. It’s been as close to normality as they’ve experienced since preparations for the 2021 season began last December.  
In terms of the timeframe, pre-season has been close to what would be considered normal. In terms of the structure, it’s been anything but.  
“Without doubt, we've been extremely lucky to continue training during this pandemic which has been tough for everyone,” he said, candidly.  
“The staff had to work extremely hard and put in a lot of extra graft to make it possible. Everything was really regimented in terms of sanitising and structuring net sessions.  
“We’ve only just started netting outside again and it’s been nice to feel the excitement – and I can’t wait for things to get going now.”  
Different times in training – and different times out of it:  
Of course, restrictions for all cricketers this winter have delved beyond resisting handshakes. Lockdown measures have ensured aspects like team meetings and socialising have taken on a different outlook.  
“It’s easy to just talk about how training’s been affected – but a lot of the issues have been transferrable to everyday life,” said Salter.  
“We’ve been coming in for our designated slots, then there’s been no lingering around or mixing. Usually we have a pre-season trip to somewhere like La Manga for some outdoor work but things like that are just not possible at the moment.  
“There’s been different sorts of challenges but we’ve done our best to deal with them. There’s been multiple Zoom calls to discuss team culture and get the necessary conversations done. We’ve found ways to adapt and again that’s credit to the staff.”  
An empty prospect:  
County cricket did go ahead late last season in the form of the Bob Willis Trophy, which if nothing else got teams accustomed to playing games in empty stadiums. The situation with supporters is set to be the same for that start of this campaign too.  
“Four day cricket doesn’t get huge numbers anyway so it won’t have quite as big an impact on that,” said Salter.  
“We stream games now which is actually good exposure. In lockdown especially it allowed a lot of people to watch, myself included, if I wasn’t picked I’d be at home on the stream.  
“But players do miss even just the ripples of applause and it seems at the moment in any sport, the post-match interview involves the effect of the crowd, or lack of crowd I should say. 
“We're hoping to have crowds back for our T20 campaign. They're our 12th man and can most definitely drive the energy on a Friday night.”  
Focused on both formats:  
Salter’s knack of taking vital wickets at an economical rate with his off spin, as well as blasting handy late runs with the bat, has seen him become a pivotal part of Glamorgan’s one day and T20 sides.  
However, as well as cementing that status this summer, he also targeting a regular place in the four day side.  
Something he hasn’t always found easy to come by.  
“I’ve worked hard over the winter and had some long spells indoors. I’ve got ambitions in all formats and know I have to put my hand up for four day selection.  
“But I’ve never been someone to get to caught up in outcomes or results. I just concentrate on my own process every day and I’m focused for the season ahead.”  
A Hundred reasons to shine:  
There is of course, another format to hit these shores this summer.  
The new Hundred competition will not only bring intrigue but world renowned stars, not least to Cardiff where Sophia Gardens will play host to the Welsh Fire franchise.  
Salter is yet to secure a place for the Fire, or any other franchise, but the door isn’t closed.  
“It’s exciting and there will be opportunities to be picked up as a wildcard,” he said.  
“I played in the trial game and to be honest, I don’t think there’s a massive difference to being involved in T20. The format isn’t quite the same but you will still have confident batsman coming at you and trying to whack it – the skills involved are the same.  
“But captains will have to be open to tactical changes and it will be interesting to see how it develops, as there’s a sense of the unknown. If we can have crowds for that it will be great for people in Wales to watch Welsh Fire and see some of the best players in the world in Cardiff.”  
Captain’s call:  
For now however, it is March 29th and a three day game against Cardiff University that will kick start the build up to Glamorgan’s opening County Championship game at Yorkshire on April 8th.  
And Salter and co will go in having been boosted by the news that skipper Chris Cooke has signed a new two-year contract.  
He’s an individual who Salter doesn’t hide his admiration for.  
“I’ve played alongside him for many seasons and he’s proven in all formats of the game, and leads from the front as a skipper. 
“For me it’s great to keep working with someone who I’ve built up a rapport with. The spinner-keeper relationship is an important one and fingers crossed we can help each other perform this season.”