Put emphasis on spin in Shield: Zampa

Rob Forsaith
Adam Zampa hopes Sheffield Shield pitches will assist spinners more in the 2020-21 season

A hectic white-ball schedule and spin-unfriendly pitches have restricted Adam Zampa's first-class opportunities in recent years, but the legspinner hopes change may be afoot.

Zampa, set to shift from South Australia to NSW during the off-season as he seeks to build a case for a Test recall, acknowledges the international calendar will likely become even busier when cricket resumes after the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Australia's frontline white-ball spinner is upbeat Sheffield Shield pitches may start to offer more assistance for tweakers in 2020-21.

Former Test spinner Steve O'Keefe, who Zampa is expected to replace at the Blues, and Queensland captain Usman Khawaja have both raised concerns about whether Australian decks are stalling the development of red-ball spinners.

Zampa urged Cricket Australia to make the issue a priority with an eye to subcontinent Test series in coming years, in much the same way they used the Dukes ball in Shield cricket to help players prepare for the 2019 Ashes tour.

"I don't really know what it's like to bowl on a spinning wicket in Shield cricket ... and that obviously limits the number of overs you bowl," Zampa told reporters.

"There's a lot said about bowling on flat wickets, Nathan (Lyon) does that really well.

"But realistically us other spinners, we're going to be partnering Nathan on the upcoming subcontinent tours.

"I don't think it has to be every wicket, but there has to be emphasis on bringing spin bowlers back into the game. Particularly on day four."

Zampa, who refused to confirm his shift to Sydney, suggested drop-in pitches had "changed the game massively" and made it "really hard to get a day-four turner with any rough".

The SCG is not the spinners' paradise it once was, but its natural deck still generally offers far more assistance to tweakers compared to other first-class grounds in Australia.

Zampa conceded a Test debut against India is unlikely to be on the cards this summer, but reiterated the baggy green remains his ultimate goal.

The 28-year-old played just two Shield games for South Australia during the previous season, mainly because games clashed with intentional one-day and Twenty20 commitments.

"Most of the white-ball cricketers that have been playing for Australia unfortunately feel the same way I do. There's been a lack of first-class opportunity," Zampa said.

"After COVID, they're going to try to squeeze more cricket in ... it's a tough one, you have to roll with the schedule. It's important to keep playing for Australia, any international game is important for me."