Without doubt Northamptonshire’s most talented batsman, Sales has scored first-class runs by the hatful for many seasons.
With the departure of Jason Brown at the end of 2008, Sales is Northants' longest-serving player, with 15 seasons at Wantage Road.
Sales made his first-class debut for Northants as a 16-year-old, scoring 70 not out against Essex.
He then cracked 210 versus Worcestershire in 1996, the youngest person to score a championship double hundred, at the age of 18.
He was a member of several England Under-19 and England A sides but has never managed to gain a place in the full international side.
Injury kept him out of the whole of the 2001 county campaign and he struggled on his return to the side.
But he was awarded the Northants captaincy in 2004, and it led to an upsurge in performances.
He scored over 1,000 runs in the 2005 season and ably led his team to some very consistent performances in all competitions.
He had a prolific 2007 season, his benefit, with 1,384 runs in the county championship at 55.36 - with a best of 219 - in his final season in charge of Northants.
Sales was clearly disappointed at not leading Northants to promotion whilst at the helm, but it did not show in his batting.
Now 30, Sales reaffirmed his desire to play for England as he handed over the captaincy to Nicky Boje for 2008.
He reached four figures in a season yet again, leading the way for Northants with 1,137 runs at 49, including a mammoth 173 against Glamorgan.
Meanwhile, his few detractors continued to point to a perceived weakness at the death.
Sales batted throughout the Steelbacks innings for 88 in a NatWest Pro40 match with Yorkshire, only to fall with five needed for victory in the last over.
But Sales’ run-scoring is without question, and Northants confirmed his importance to them by securing his services on a four-year deal until 2012, despite strong interest from seven counties.
Northants badly missed his runs in 2009, when an injury to the same troublesome knee, this time sustained in winter training, ruled him out of the entire season.