By Alun Rhys Chivers
Glamorgan’s Andrew Salter says that spending the winter in New Zealand, as part of the ECB’s overseas placement programme, has allowed him to better understand his bowling ahead of the start of the new domestic season.
Based in Wellington, the Pembrokeshire-born off-spinner was one of two domestic spinners, along with Hampshire’s Brad Taylor, who were selected to hone their skills under the watchful eye of former New Zealand and current Warwickshire off-spinner, Jeetan Patel.
Salter says he was “delighted” after being approached by the ECB’s lead spin-bowling coach, Peter Such, offering him the chance to be based at the Wellington Firebirds over the winter, playing club cricket for Johnsonville alongside “legendary” club cricketer and Kiwi international Luke Woodcock.
Based at the Basin Reserve, Salter says it was “awesome trying to pick Jeetan’s brains” and that he “was interested to see how the master himself goes about his business”.
The 24 year-old admits to “understanding my bowling a little bit better” ahead of the new season, knowing more about why he’s bowling well “and if it goes badly, the reasons behind it”. He says he has a better understanding of his own action, which was “a big learning curve”.
Playing for Johnsonville on Saturdays allowed Salter to put what he had learned into practice in a match environment, and he says he left the club satisfied with his overall personal performances, which included knocks of 94 not out and 80 not out, as well as a five-wicket haul. It also allowed him to play alongside Woodcock.
“A normal week consisted of two sessions with Jeetan and on the Saturday, it would be a case of trying some things out, seeing what the results were,” says Salter.
“It wasn’t a case every week of it working to plan, but that was the whole point, to understand the reasons behind it. So it was really good to have that opportunity to play on a Saturday every week.”
Having spent previous winters in Australia, this was Salter’s first stint in New Zealand. There was little respite before Glamorgan’s pre-season camp in Dubai, where they underwent grass training.
While he’s looking forward to another domestic summer in Wales and England, Salter says he has “no specific personal goals”, but that “if the process is right, the results take care of themselves”.
Salter’s first chance to put his new-found knowledge to the test in a first-class game will come against Cardiff MCCU in the three-day curtain raiser at The SSE Swalec, which gets underway on April 13.