Phil Salt column: My spot in England squad was a wake-up call - literally

Phil Salt hits out at last year's Vitality Blast Finals Day - an occasion he's keen to be at again this year / Picture: SNAP, Sussex Cricket
Phil Salt hits out at last year's Vitality Blast Finals Day - an occasion he's keen to be at again this year / Picture: SNAP, Sussex Cricket

My call-up to the England T20 squad has spurred me on.

The call came the night before our One-Day Cup match at Eastbourne... and I was actually having a nap!

Luckily I woke up and saw I had some missed calls from an unknown number, and then a call from Dizzy saying Ed Smith wanted to speak to me.

It was a brilliant experience to be around the England boys, and it’s just spurred me on to get more call-ups in the future.

Having Jof (Jofra Archer) and CJ (Chris Jordan) in the squad with me helped, but everyone made me feel really welcome and they’re all good guys.

Obviously I didn’t manage to get a game, but I learned loads while I was away and at the end of the trip, Eoin Morgan just told me to go away, perform for Sussex and my chance will come again.

I tried to take as much on board as I could and hopefully it won’t be long before I get another chance if I keep in good form.

I scored quite a few runs in the Blast last year, and also had a great winter playing in some leagues around the world.

I played for Lahore Qalandars and then Islamabad United, who are probably the biggest team in the Pakistan Super League. We had a great side and reached the semi-final and were unlucky not to win the whole tournament, but the whole experience was amazing.

Pakistan is an incredible country, and it was such a good experience playing over there.

All the players were made to feel safe, and the fans were so passionate – but also really supportive.

The stadiums were packed and it’s clear they love their cricket over there. Hopefully more cricket can be played there in the future.

The PSL definitely made me a better player, and it helped me start this season well, even though we’ve obviously been playing different formats.

I feel in good shape, I’m seeing the ball well and have had a couple of decent scores so far.

It was frustrating to pick up that injury up at Lord’s, because I was going well after my century against Northants, but these things happen and you just have to re-focus.

It allowed me a little bit of a break which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but now I’m fit again, I can’t wait to get back up and running properly.

We’ve got high hopes for the Blast this year, and headed to Hampshire feeling confident, so it was frustrating that the weather got the better of us.

There’s no reason we can’t go one better than last year.

We have a really strong squad in all three departments and getting to Finals Day in 2018 has only made us more determined as a group.

The final didn’t go our way, but that is one of the best days in the cricketing calendar and everyone wants to be involved.

The South Group is always tough to get out of, but we had the momentum last year and that’s what we want to keep going this time around.

Two big games at home this week has been the perfect way to start after last Friday’s abandonment. Hove can be rocking on T20 nights and we want to get the crowd on their feet.

Hopefully I can contribute to that a bit this year and just can’t wait to get started. We all want to win and get a bit of silverware, and this is a great chance.