Adam Zampa might be Australia’s specialist white-ball spinner at the moment, but he hopes to use the upcoming summer to prove that his skills can be transferred to the longer form of the game. Zampa made his ODI and T20 debuts for Australia earlier this year and immediately impressed with his poise under pressure, a trait that has brought him success, particularly in T20 cricket.
He was the leading wicket-taker among spinners during the recent Caribbean Premier League, in which he claimed 15 victims at 18.46 for the Guyana Amazon Warriors, and is about to join Australia’s squad in Sri Lanka for the limited-overs leg of their tour. The axing of Glenn Maxwell from the ODI squad should create plenty of chances for Zampa, named alongside Nathan Lyon in the squad.
“It’s a big opportunity for me,” Zampa told reporters in Adelaide during a brief trip home between the CPL and the Sri Lanka series. “Looking at the next six months or so coming up too, there’s quite a lot of white-ball cricket. There’s probably three or four tours this summer. It’s a good opportunity for me to cement my spot even more in that one-day and T20 side.”
However, Zampa also knows that opportunities are presenting themselves for spinners in the Test side, with Steve O’Keefe and Jon Holland both having played alongside Lyon during the ongoing Test series in Sri Lanka. In order to make himself a candidate for a Test call-up, Zampa will need to make the most of his opportunities at the Sheffield Shield level during the gaps between his white-ball commitments.
Last summer, Zampa played five Shield games for South Australia and collected 10 wickets at 45.20, but he was far from alone in terms of spinners being overshadowed during that season. The top 10 wicket-takers in the previous Shield summer were all fast bowlers, including three from Zampa’s own state – Joe Mennie, Daniel Worrall and Chadd Sayers – who dominated the wickets tally.
“It’s been made pretty obvious that I’m predominantly white-ball cricket at the moment,” Zampa said. “I want to try and show that I’ve actually improved as a bowler in the last 12 months. I haven’t had a great opportunity, but in Shield cricket last year, I actually felt like I bowled really well.
“With our bowling attack and the way the wickets were going last year, I actually didn’t get too much opportunity. I’m hoping to get some suitable conditions this year, and I want to try and win some games for South Australia before I’m ready to play for Australia.”
If Zampa can show his red-ball skills during whatever Shield games he plays this summer, the reward could be significant. A Test tour of India in February-March will require Australia to take at least two, and possibly, three spinners.
“I’ve got to get quite a few more games under my belt,” Zampa said. “I’ve only played three or four four-dayers in the last 12 months. This year is going to be a great opportunity for me. There’s some opportunities coming up, you’ve seen with O’Keefe, Lyon, Holland… there’s an India tour coming up, so Shield cricket this year is going to be big for me.” (ESPNcricinfo)
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo.