Cricket 2022: Adam Zampa to make Sheffield Shield return

The Blues have been handed a much-needed Sheffield Shield lifeline, with Adam Zampa set to return from the first-class wilderness to take on Victoria in this week’s match at the Junction Oval.

Zampa’s selection comes nearly 10 years to the day since he made his first class debut for NSW, and it will be his first Shield match since 2019 when he was with South Australia.

His inclusion in the squad isn’t a coincidence, with the 30-year-old desperate to make an impression on selectors in a bid to earn a maiden Test cap when Australia tours India next year.

The leg-spinner is ranked seventh in the world in both white-ball formats, but Zampa indicated last week that he had a burning ambition to play the longest form of the game.

“My dream is still to play Test cricket,” he told Fox Cricket.

“I feel like my game has evolved enough in the last few years. It’s just about seeing the workloads and how my body will cope really.

“I’d love to throw my hat in the ring.”

Zampa’s chances of playing in India aren’t high at the moment given Nathan Lyon is Australia’s first-choice spinner, while Mitchell Swepson took 10 wickets in four Tests earlier in the year in Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

But Zampa has plenty of experience in India playing in the IPL and for Australia in the shorter formats, while his 105 wickets in 38 first class matches shows he has the variety and temperament to excel with the red ball.

His inclusion is a huge boost for a Blues side that is last on the Sheffield Shield ladder, with two losses and three draws, and in desperate need of a win before the competition breaks for the BBL until February.

“It’s rare that Adam is available for Sheffield Shield given his taxing white-ball schedule, but he has this week free and has always maintained his desire to play red-ball cricket,” Cricket NSW head of elite male cricket Michael Klinger said.

“For us to be able to bring in a player of his calibre and experience is a welcome one. Toby Gray is unlucky to miss out after a strong debut last week, but he is a young guy who will look to get more chances as his career develops.”

The game against Victoria starts on Thursday, with the home side also winless after five rounds.

The Blues also welcome back Sean Abbott from Australian duties.

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