Salt has fond memories of playing on the 60,000 seat pitch in Burswood, which will host international cricket for the first time since late 2019, having hit 59 from 31 balls for Adelaide Strikers against Perth Scorchers in January 2020.
His destructive, hard hitting at bat seems perfectly suited to a traditional Optus Stadium fast pitch and outfield, which often fuel high-scoring BBL games. Calculating defending champion Scorchers made a smart decision after selecting Salt with pick No. 19 in the inaugural BBL draw in August.
“I expect it to be fast and resilient. It’s a good wicket to hit, suits my game,” he told reporters on Friday. “The boundaries are pretty big square and generally suit the guys who are stronger square of the wicket.”
Salt plans to meet with Scorchers officials ahead of Sunday’s game, but in the meantime, his attention turns to his Player-of-the-Match 88 not out against Pakistan in the sixth T20I in Lahore, which is his T20 World Cup hopes revived after grim form yielded just 59 runs in five innings.
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 reserve batter in England’s T20 World Cup squad. “Not so sure at the moment,” Salt said when asked if he’d gotten any clarity about his role in Australia. “It’s not a conversation we’ve had yet.”
With a golden opportunity to impress even more in the series opener against a weakened attack in Australia, Salt said he would choose the brains of teammate and former Scorchers star Liam Livingstone for additional insight.
“Obviously he’s done a really good job here and it would be foolish not to lean on him about exactly how to play under these conditions,” he said.
After a thrilling 4-3 win in the T20 series in their much anticipated return to Pakistan, a vibrant England are feeling optimistic ahead of the World Cup, where they come in as one of the favourites.
It was a quiet start to their campaign with players and staff staggering their arrival in Perth this week and they hit the nets at Optus Stadium for a light session on Thursday morning to launch a frenetic tour Down Under.
While this three-game warm-up streak against longtime foe Australia is likely to lack the traditional punch, Salt believed there was still a lot at stake with game one set to be played in front of a crowd of 30,000 on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s a series to win and we have an eye on the World Cup,” he said. “It’s very important to keep the momentum after Pakistan. To beat them in their own circumstances… that’s very hard to do.
“We played with a lot of guys who hadn’t played much international cricket before, so we’re pretty happy with how that went. We want to keep the ball rolling and continue the momentum.”
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth