Cricketers, states wait for embargo to end

Rob Forsaith
Australia's leading white-ball spinner Adam Zampa is transferring from South Australia to NSW

State cricketers are in a holding pattern as they wait for a contract embargo, sparked by the sport's financial woes, to be lifted.

Adam Zampa's shift from South Australia to NSW is among the off-season moves set to be confirmed whenever states reveal their 2020-21 squads.

Cricket Australia is still attempting to hammer out agreements with its state owners and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA), on funding and pay respectively.

The governing body announced its national contract lists on April 30, a fortnight after chief executive Kevin Roberts stood down the vast majority of staff, but states are currently unable to follow suit as CA's talks with the ACA continue.

The situation is expected to be resolved soon and there will be no repeat of 2017, when state deals weren't announced until August following an acrimonious pay dispute.

Most states have notably already gone a long way to finalising squads.

But uncertainty created by the contract-list delay, coupled with the prospect of CA condensing the domestic schedule as part of cost-cutting measures, has created a degree of unease among some state players.

"It's probably frustrating for some of the state guys in particular," Zampa told reporters on Tuesday.

"I was named in the Cricket Australia contract list, so for someone like me it's not too bad.

"I've got it easy compared to some of the guys trying to get long-term deals with states and things like that."

The ACA wrote to members last week and advised the "financial position of cricket" is "very positive" relative to Australia's football codes, rejecting Roberts' assessment.

The players' union is also expected to fiercely oppose any move to shorten the Sheffield Shield season.

Cricket NSW's board, chaired by former Credit Suisse chief executive John Knox, is meeting on Tuesday night.

Knox, who prompted the resignation of CA chairman David Peever in 2018, and colleagues will discuss the latest set of financial projections provided by CA.

CA is attempting to cut funding to all states by 25 per cent, a figure that has prompted no shortage of questions about the sport's financial woes from NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.

Zampa, who has been forced to postpone his wedding because of the COVID-19 pandemic, won't be on the Blues' books because of his national deal.

Australia's frontline white-ball spinner was nonetheless unwilling to discuss an expected return to his home state of NSW, where Steve O'Keefe has already been delisted.

"I'm looking to still get that baggy green. That's my ultimate goal," Zampa said.

"It's probably really easy for people to pinpoint me as a white-ball bowler ... I really want to change people's perceptions."