Phil Salt determined to replace Ben Stokes as England prepare for must-win South Africa clash

Phil Salt is expected to get his first shot at replacing Ben Stokes in England’s 50-over side, slotting in behind the opening partnership.

Stokes announced his retirement from one-day internationals earlier in the week, leaving a significant void in Matthew Mott's side. 

The news came just a few weeks after the retirement of World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan. Nevertheless, Salt believes both departures will allow other players to step up to the plate.

The 25-year-old is expected to start against South Africa on Friday in what has become a must-win encounter following a defeat in the opening match.

"We've lost a couple of leaders in the dressing room, Stokesy the other day and Morgs retiring, and it does have an impact. But we have to keep moving forward," said Salt.

"We have all the leaders and senior players in the dressing room we need. And it's an opportunity for people such as myself, lads that have been around it and played bits and pieces but not had a solid run.

"I love playing at Old Trafford and, to be quite honest, I've just got to take this opportunity now with both hands. I've been on the fringes for a while and I want to get in there and show people what I can do."

Salt made his ODI bow under Stokes' captaincy last summer as the team was disrupted by a number of Covid-19 infections.

He returned to the fold for the recent series away in the Netherlands, and put on an impressive display after hitting a maiden century, followed by scores of 77 and 49.

Salt would prefer to kick things off at the head of the innings but, as someone who was inspired by the way Bairstow and Roy redefined the role in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup, he accepts a middle-order role awaits.

"I think I'm slotting in wherever the opportunity comes because that is the best opening partnership in 50-over cricket," he said.

"There's no doubt about that. Look at the numbers, the way they play and the way they've changed how the game is played.

"There's a lot of people in international cricket that want to copy them and follow how they play. In my opinion, they've set the bar for a good few years now.

"They set the template for how you want to play if you're going to play for England, it's as simple as that. Everybody who bats in my position around the country would have seen what they're doing and tried to emulate that."

READ MORE: Joe Root quotes Chumbawamba and urges England to step-up during ODI transition phase

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