PHIL SALT has saluted his north Wales development for helping put him in the frame for international recognition.

Bodelwyddan-born Salt was part of the 55-man squad selected by England ahead of their return to Test match action next month against the West Indies.

And even though the Sussex opening batsman missed out when the squad was cut to 30 last week, Salt is likely to be in the frame for the limited-overs matches later this summer against Pakistan and Ireland.

If Salt is picked to represent England then he will become the first Welshman to play for Joe Root’s men since pace ace Simon Jones back in 2005.

The 23-year-old believes the attitude of his first club, St Asaph, and regional coaches were vital to his progress in the game.

“St Asaph is where I started playing cricket, I loved it there. It’s just a good community club, my brother got me down there,” Salt told BBC Sussex.

“I was coached by Gareth Ryan - some clubs are lucky to have a guy like that who’s been round for years, played for the first team and is coaching every weeknight.

“I’m so grateful to the people around me when I kept hitting the ball up the chimney for six because some coaches don’t let kids do that, I was just encouraged to enjoy the game and that’s part of the reason I love the game so much now.

“I must have been about seven (when I started), then I went on to represent North East Wales, I remember getting that letter in the post, it was like getting the ticket for Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.”

Salt, who was called into the England squad for a T20 against Pakistan in Cardiff last year, but did not make the match XI, also praised another familiar face in Tim Newhouse, the former Hawarden, Marchwiel, Llay and Brymbo batsman.

Newhouse helped start Salt’s journey, and was there when the youngster played for Adelaide Strikers in Australia’s prestigious Big Bash.

“I still keep in contact with the North East Wales coach Tim Newhouse,” he said. “In the sixth game in the Big Bash in Melbourne I got 50 off about 21 balls and Tim, who selected me for the under-11s, was in the crowd.

“I had a chat with him and it was really nice, he picked me in my first ever representative side and he’s there to watch me get my first Big Bash 50.”

Despite being born in Bodelwyddan, Salt lacks a Welsh accent, although there is no doubting where his loyalties lie.

“We lived in Wales and were Welsh but I went to school in Chester over the border and you’d have all the classic English Welsh banter you get from kids,” Salt said. “It got called out at assembly that I’d been selected and I remember getting a good ribbing and giving it back twice as hard.

“I don’t think I’d see tomorrow if I told my mum I supported England at anything, so it’s a good thing England and Wales are merged together in cricket otherwise she wouldn’t let me play for England.

“You mainly get stick around rugby as a Welshman down here, but none of the Sussex boys are into rugby that much - though in the (2016 football) Euros when England got their winner (against Wales) the boys were just giving it to me and I was just gutted.”