Playing Test cricket is still the ultimate goal: Adam Zampa

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12 May 2020 | 03:25 PM
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Playing Test cricket is still the ultimate goal: Adam Zampa

The leggie also weighed on other topics during this interview

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Australia's white-ball spinner, Adam Zampa has revealed that playing Test cricket remains his ultimate goal. In a video file released by Cricket Australia, Zampa talks about a host of things during the interview. Here's the full version.

On his return to New South Wales

There’s some attractive points of playing in different places for me, but I can’t really mention too much about it at the moment, but I’ve still got to go through the same process as everyone else. The states are still going through everything they need through Cricket Australia and the ACA. I cannot speak about my position with state cricket too much at the moment. 

Has it been your desire to go back to New South Wales?

Not in particular. For me playing Test cricket is still the ultimate goal. Over the last few years it's probably really easy for people to pinpoint me as a while-ball bowler. I've played most of the white-ball games for Australia over the last few years so it's really limited my first-class opportunities so I really want to change people's perceptions.

I know my first-class record doesn't really speak for itself but over the last three years when I haven't really been playing first-class cricket I've really improved as a bowler, so I'm looking to still get that Baggy Green. That’s my ultimate goal.

Any clarity on how you’re going to be training?

No too much has been communicated so far about training. Once the leave period is done in a few days’ time, the message has been to train with your states. There’s no cricket in the foreseeable future. So the message was to get back to your states to do your pre-season as everyone else would. It’s a little different how everyone else has done in the last few years. Most people would be playing the IPL or County cricket. The message we have received so far, once pre-season starts, we would be without states.

Difference between bowling to Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma

The difference between those two players is that Rohit’s [Sharma] very much a six-hitter. He likes to hit you out of the park as much as possible. He is one of those guys who likes to defend for three or four balls till you give him a ball he can hit out of the park. Virat’s [Kohli] the opposite. He likes to play it a little bit safer, play it along the ground, hit the ball hard along the ground, but also rotate the strike more as well. That’s probably the difference between those two players.

What was the main factor behind leaving South Australia?

Nothing’s official yet. I can’t really speak too much about it. Nothing has been announced yet. So, unfortunately, I can’t speak too much about state cricket at the moment. Like I said earlier, Cricket Australia and ACA still have to go through the financials and as far as I’m concerned, I can’t really talk about state cricket at the moment. 

Happy with the opportunities you got at South Australia?

The reason for me not having much first-class opportunities in the last few years is because I’ve been playing international cricket. Most of the white-ball cricketers playing for Australia felt the same way I do. There’s been a lack of first-class opportunity for everyone who has been playing white-ball cricket for Australia. 

How tough is it to be a spinner in the Sheffield Shield?

There’s been a bit said about that in the media with Usman [Khawaja] and Sock (Steve O’ Keefe) as well. The biggest reason for that would be the drop-in wickets, that has changed the game massively and it's really hard to get a day-four turner with any rough. We've seen the Dukes ball as well, which can really suit spin bowlers but unfortunately the wickets have been a little on the greener side. For spinners to be in the game on day four it has basically been taken out of the game except for maybe the SCG sometimes, if the weather suits as well. We've had to play a different role in first-class cricket, that's why you see the numbers have changed. But the biggest reason for that has to be the drop-in wickets.

Should Shield cricket aid spinners to go on and win in England, India and other conditions?

Personally, I’d love to see that as a spin bowler. There is a lot said about bowling on flat wickets. Nathan [Lyon] does that really well. But I think realistically other spinners who are going to be partnering Nathan in the upcoming subcontinent tours, I don't really know what it's like to bowl on a spinning wicket in Shield cricket. The closest thing I've had to a spinning wicket is Adelaide Oval when it's green and patchy and that limits the amount of overs you bowl as well. I think there should be emphasis put on it. We put a lot of effort into playing the swinging ball in England. We’ve had the Dukes ball over the last few years in Shield cricket too. I don’t know if it has be every wicket, but there has to be some emphasis on sort of bringing spin bowlers into the game particularly on day four. 

Have you set your sights of playing Test cricket in some of the upcoming subcontinent tours?

Mu ultimate goal is to play red-ball cricket and play Test cricket for Australia. I’d love to get some first-class cricket under my belt first. But with the way I’ve been improving over the last couple of years particularly at international level, I feel like the last 12 months have been really good. I’ve come out on the other side pretty well. I’ve still got the gall to play Test cricket for sure.

Given that your one-day record against India is good, do you think you could be a surprise selection for the Tests against India this summer?

Honestly, I don’t think so. Nathan’s got that spot. He doesn’t need anyone partnering him in Australia. It’s those subcontinent series that we’ll have an eye on. And I also would say that I don’t have anything over Virat Kohli in particular. I bowled well to him in one-day cricket, particularly in India but the game situations have really suited me too. I don’t think I’ve got too much over Virat to be honest.

What sort of preparation do you need to excel in a tournament as big as the T20 World Cup?

I think it’s all going to be individual. Some guys can probably go straight into it, like nothing’s happened. But personally, I like to continue playing cricket. This has been a really weird feeling for me, the last six weeks. So, I really like getting games under my belt, particularly T20 – getting yourself into different game situations, putting yourself under a bit of pressure. I need a bit of game time to be ready for international cricket. Having said that, we haven’t had any messages about what’s going on with the World Cup to be honest. Haven’t really thought about preparation-wise. The only thing (we can do) is keeping fit, mentally having freshened up. 

Is it frustrating the CA and ACA have not come to a conclusion with your state contract?

It’s been frustrating for some of the state guys. I’ve been named in the Cricket Australia central contract – for someone like me it’s not too bad compared to some guys who have been trying to deals with states. I’ve really enjoyed my time at home. We very rarely get opportunities to spend time with the family. I’m feeling mentally fresh and excited at cricket when it does start. Really enjoying this time as well. 

Would you consider dropping out of white-ball cricket to push your Test ambitions?

It is a tough one particularly with the international schedule and the way it is going to look after COVID, they’re going to squeeze a lot of cricket in. It’s a tough question to answer. But I’d be silly if I say that I want to drop any formats of the game to try and reach that ambition because my best way into that ambition is to continue what I’ve been doing in white-ball cricket for Australia. But when I do get the opportunity in first-class cricket, to take it. You’ve got to roll with the schedule. It’s important to keep playing for Australia. Any international game is really important to me. That’s my best way in to keep going on to steadily improve and hope that there are some red-ball opportunities somewhere along the line. 

Any talks with Justin Langer or other selectors about what they want to see from him in first-class cricket

Honestly, no, I don't think I've really been spoken about. Obviously, it's been really hard that the exposure to red-ball cricket hasn't really been there. With sub-continent tours, you've got guys like Mitchell Swepson bowling really well and playing Shield cricket. Then, you've got Ashton Agar who has had a little bit of experience there as well and then you've got Jon Holland who's been good in first-class cricket over the last few years. So I'm just going to take my opportunity when it comes and then hopefully my international experience and record will speak for itself if that ever weighs on my side.

On Australia becoming No.1 in T20Is, having a balanced T20I team and hopes of winning the World T20

Yeah, definitely. I think the emphasis that we have put on T20 cricket as an international team over the last couple of years has made a huge difference. There was the Test format and the ODI format leading up to the World Cup last year, it was probably what we were concentrating on. But with this T20 World Cup in particular, we've made a difference in the way we select teams, the way the scheduling looks. So I think it's been an amazing 18 months in particular for the T20 team and we've got a really good balance leading up to this T20 World Cup. So it's exciting to be a part of that.

On the ODI against New Zealand that was played behind closed doors and the possibility of an entire tournament (World T20) being played like that

Looking back on that one-day (match vs New Zealand) now, it's probably going to be really important for us to get used to how that feels. At the time, we were like this feels weird. I remember thinking myself being out there in the field, well this is an international game and thinking that this feels really weird, almost feels like a club cricket atmosphere sometimes. I think moving forward, we might have to get used to that, particularly this summer. It felt weird at the time, but hopefully we can look forward to saying that we can work (this) out because playing cricket in front of no crowd is better than playing no cricket at all I guess.

On his success as a limited-overs bowler, especially in T20 cricket where bat usually dominates the ball

I'm not sure about bat dominating ball so much in T20 cricket any more. I think you will see that some of the scores, particularly in BBL over the last couple of years - the ball is actually dominating the bat. We've had to learn different ways to get better in T20 cricket. Personally, I don't really see myself as an overly successful bowler or better than anyone else to be honest. I do have a competitive drive because I've always had to have that and I've said it before in the media that I don't really see myself as the most skillful cricketer going around Australia or the world. But I do have a competitive drive that's been in me since teenage because growing up in the country there was always one city boy that always wanted to be picked before the country blokes. Just having that competitive drive has probably held me in good stead for my professional career.

If the wrong'un he bowled to Kane Williamson at the SCG this year was the best ball he ever bowled

I wouldn't say the biggest wicket. Obviously, playing in India against India is always a big challenge, so there are really big wickets to have. The way I've bowled throughout this summer, the way I've had to play different roles - particularly in the World Cup - I learnt a lot about my game, the disappointment of being dropped and trying to work out a way to play a role in the team that made sure I was picked every game. South Africa, in particular, was really good for me - playing a holding role almost. Then coming back to Australia for that one game and obviously New Zealand wanted to attack me in that game in particular. But to get a guy like Williamson out with a ball like that probably topped off what I felt like was a really big summer for me. Getting big wickets like that and bowling balls like that is something that you only really dream of, something that hopefully I can do again.

On the wrong'un and if he's been working on any other variations recently

I guess I've been trying to learn about getting in and out of overs, when I can attack and when I should defend. There's been a lot said. A couple of years ago, for example, Mark Waugh said that I didn't bowl my variations enough when he was a selector. Then, there's been other messages saying that I don't turn my stock ball enough, so work on that. I've got to find that mixture of having a really good stock ball which I think I've improved a lot and also having those game situations where you can really attack and bowl your wrong'uns and your sliders. It's not really anything that I've worked on in particular. I've worked on my bowling action, my bowling action is so much different to what it was three years ago. I had a really good winter in England, playing for Essex. I worked on my run-up, speed of run-up and things like that. My variations have improved because of that. It's all working out in game situations and working what I can do and what I can't.

On the scheduled white-ball tour to England and possible quarantine for 14 days on either side of the tour

Nothing has really been said about that to be honest. I'd be happy to do whatever it takes to play some international cricket at the moment. I don't really know what the government restrictions are going to look like or how it's going to work with Cricket Australia and the England Cricket Board. Obviously, The Hundred has been pushed until next year. I don't know how it's going to look, but it's really unfortunate for the cricketers over in England. At the moment, I'm on the Essex Whatsapp group and they're passing time doing some crazy stuff, having Zoom and putting classes together.

On how much confidence he takes from his success against players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma

I take a lot of confidence from that to be honest. A lot of white-ball spinners have gone to India and haven't really had the success or played a holding role and found the wickets really difficult to bowl on. On my first tour there, I had a lot of luck and I grew in confidence from having that luck. In my last tour, that was probably the best series that I've ever had with the ball to be honest. Just the experience in particular, having played 80-90 internationals now, you walk up knowing what you need to do a little bit better. So I do have a lot more confidence than I did a couple of years ago. If I was thrown into any situation, just that experience I have now will hold me in good stead.

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AustraliaAdam ZampaVirat KohliKane Stuart Williamson

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