Zampa set for Shield return to push India tour case

Australia white-ball spinner Adam Zampa says his Baggy Green dream stills burns brightly, identifying a return to the Marsh Sheffield Shield as his way of forging his way into the Test XI.

Zampa, 30, is enjoying the best form of his international career to date, putting up impressive numbers in both 50-over and 20-over cricket.

This year, he’s captured 30 ODI wickets at an average of 17.53 (including 11 in three matches against world No.1 England) and 17 T20I wickets at an economy of 7.38.

And it has the leg-spinner believing he can make an impact if selected for Australia’s Test squad that will travel to India for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in February.

Zampa however, hasn’t played a first-class match since November 2019 but he still harbors the ambition to play the longest format of the game.

“My dream is still to play Test cricket,” Zampa told Fox Cricket before the third Dettol ODI in Melbourne on Tuesday.

“I feel like my game’s evolved over the last few years, it’s just about the workload and seeing how my body will cope.

“I’d love to throw my hat in the ring (for the India tour).”

Perhaps in Zampa’s favor is there will be three one-day internationals as part of Australia’s tour to India next year, of which he will certainly be a part.

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But whether or not he can surpass Mitch Swepson, Ashton Agar and potentially Todd Murphy and Matt Kuhnemann as the next in line behind Nathan Lyon remains to be seen.

Zampa played three first-class matches for NSW in his early 20s but made the move from his native state to South Australia ahead of the 2013-14 season in search of better opportunities.

He was a key component of the Redbacks making the Sheffield Shield final in 2016-17, grabbing 30 wickets at an average of 38.30 in that campaign.

Zampa returned to his home state in the middle of 2020 but has played only two Marsh Cup matches for NSW since then.

Adam Zampa last played Shield cricket with NSW in the 2012-13 summer // Getty
Adam Zampa last played Shield cricket with NSW in the 2012-13 summer // Getty

With Nathan Lyon in the Test squad and Tanveer Sangha currently recovering from a stress fracture, Zampa has pinpointed New South Wales’ Shield clash with Victoria in Melbourne on December 1 as his chance to add to his 38 first-class matches.

“I last played for New South Wales in 2013, almost 10 years,” Zampa said.

“It would be good to pull on the Baggy Blue again.”

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Nic Maddinson, a close friend and Victoria captain for this week’s Shield clash, is looking forward to a red-ball meeting.

“It will be great to play against him, especially down in Melbourne. I think he’s really excited if he does get the chance to play in that game, which I know he really wants to do,” Maddinson told cricket.com.au today .

“I think the subcontinent tour coming up next year, someone who bowls high pace leggings and actually puts quite a lot on the ball and challenges the stumps is a really good weapon.

“And the accuracy that he has is similar to a finger spin or an off-spin bowler and it just gives something a little bit different and I think we’ve seen that work in India previously. So really rapt for him if he ends up ends up playing, it’s been a while since we’ve played against each other so I’m really looking forward to that.

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“I’d love to see him, when we were kids I used to stay at his house and we’d be out in the front yard and re-enacting famous players and pretending we’re playing Test cricket, so it’d be great if he got that opportunity.

“I saw him last week when we were up at his place in Byron and I know he was super keen to try and play some four-day cricket and at least put his name forward if the opportunity did come up.

“But he’s done so well in white-ball cricket and the same with Maxi last year, they’re playing for Australia and playing so much white-ball cricket that sometimes you don’t get that opportunity to play Shield cricket as often as he would like but I know the desire to play Test cricket and that ambition is still there for him. So it would be great if he got that opportunity.”

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