The Restart Is The Mantra Of Glamorgan, And Andrew Salter > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Reboot is the mantra for Glamorgan and Andrew Salter
It has been a winter of upheaval at Glamorgan. Last season's disappointing performances on the pitch resulted in a number of changes off it, including the appointment of Matt Maynard as head coach, replacing Robert Croft, and the installation of Mark Wallace as the club's new Director of Cricket. Both Maynard and Wallace, former players, are club legends but their appointments have led to accusations of a closed shop with some arguing that a fresh perspective might be useful for a county which has struggled badly for most of the last decade.
Those arguments might have some merit but in Maynard's case, his experience as England's assistant coach under Duncan Fletcher and as head coach of Somerset for three years have given him some high-class outside experience. Admittedly, Wallace, who retired at the end of the 2017 season, has had less time away from the club but both him and Maynard have a deep affection for Glamorgan and will command the instant respect of the players. That is not a bad place to start.
It also continues the Welsh influence over the club which Glamorgan have placed at the centre of their recent vision. Hugh Morris, another former player and now CEO, has been pivotal in that philosophy and the club have given many young Welsh players the opportunity to take the county forward after a long period in the doldrums.
It would be incredibly harsh to say that is the wrong ambition, particularly as Essex and Surrey have shown that a core of homegrown players can be important ingredients in their recent Championship wins. Yet Glamorgan's faith in their younger players has yet to bear any real fruit.
They finished bottom of the Championship last season, with just two victories in all, and bottom of their group in the Royal London One-Day Cup. They fared marginally better in the Vitality T20 Blast but still failed to qualify for the knock-out stages. It was a thoroughly underwhelming season after a promising one the year before and Croft, the former Glamorgan and England off-spinner, paid for it with his job.
Off-spinner Andrew Salter is one of those young Welsh players in which the county have invested with some promising if inconsistent results. He has just signed a new two-year contract and is aware that the players must do better this year. "There's no doubt that we owe it to the supporters to string some better performances together particularly in the four-day format," he tells Cricbuzz.
"That's a clear focus of every player in this squad. There's new faces, new players, Matt as our new head coach, Mark Wallace as Director of Cricket. It feels like there is a change at the club and I'm really excited. We are going to have to look at last season and learn from it because we really do want to make Wales proud. We definitely owe it to the spectators."
Why didn't things go well last season? "It's difficult to put your finger on," he says. "It definitely wasn't the case of not trying. I know every single player tried as hard as they possibly could. At times we came across strong opposition and we didn't necessarily get into games where the other team got the first hit in and we were behind the eight-ball for the rest of the game."
The feeling that Glamorgan's players, for all their promise, lack the sort of grit required for the longer formats lingers. They drew just two Championship matches last season, losing ten, suggesting they too often collapsed in a heap when put under pressure.
The club hope that Maynard's no-nonsense approach and high standards will instil more robustness into a group which now includes Billy Root, brother of England captain Joe, who has arrived from Nottinghamshire. There has been a change of captain too with Chris Cooke taking over in the Championship and 50-over cricket.
Salter is one of those who will be expected to do better this term. A strong performer in white ball cricket where his economical bowling did particularly well in last season's Blast, his red-ball game is more of a work in progress. He averaged 42 in the Championship last season and to that end, he has been working with former New Zealand spinner, Jeetan Patel, this winter in Wellington. His focus has been on understanding better what he needs to do in each format.
"One of the things we've worked on is identifying the core principles of my bowling and making sure that's evident through the different formats," he says. "In the white-ball formats, there are lots of change ups and it's not too often you bowl two deliveries the same, one after another. When you compare that to four-day cricket where you are trying to hit the top of off, hit good areas consistently all day, it can be chalk and cheese.
"We worked hard this year in transitioning between the different formats, coming out of the white ball formats and then back into the four-day stuff. Trying to work on that process, what I can do to make that smoother and come into my four-day bowling all guns firing."
Salter and Patel have also worked on increasing the variations the 25 year-old has at his disposal. "Sometimes it's about changing the seam presentation and that dictates a lot how the ball gets down to the batsman, different trajectories and angles," he adds. "Trying to put that together with having the right fields in place. Unfortunately, I'm not able to spin it the other way with a doosra but I am able to use the change of pace and angles alongside some subtle field placing."
With more than 150 games for Glamorgan now under his belt, Salter is one of the more senior members of the squad and the number one spinner. With that comes pressure, of course, but it is a role he finally feels ready to accept. "When I first was introduced to the team, I bowled alongside Dean Cosker so I was under his wing for a lot of the start of my career," he says.
"And then the transition from that was to play as the number one spinner. That in itself was quite a big learning curve. That role is something that I am working towards nailing down. it's just about learning from last season and those experiences."
The shadow of last season still lingers although Salter is understandably keen to look forward, consign the past to the past. "It's the same no matter what the situation is. Every single season, every game is a fresh start. It's an exciting time to be at the club, it was the reason I was delighted to extend my contract. With the changes over the winter, it's an exciting time and I hope the supporters are as excited as we are."
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