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Zampa: Overseas franchise leagues in UAE, South Africa 'aren't in my calculations'

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Published in Cricket
Saturday, 06 August 2022 06:35
Adam Zampa has refused to entertain the possibility of playing in the new franchise T20 leagues in the UAE and South Africa and insisted that he is focused on representing Australia for as long as possible.
Several Australian players, most notably David Warner, have been actively courted by new teams in the International League T20 (ILT20) in the UAE, which clashes with the second half of the Big Bash League (BBL). But Zampa ruled out the possibility that he would consider playing another league during the Australian season, as long as he is playing international cricket.

"It's great that there's so many competitions but that's probably a long-term thing for me, to be honest," he told ESPNcricinfo. "I'm 30 years old and while you're contracted with Australia, I think - well, I know that guys won't get NOCs [No-Objection Certificates] to play those competitions.

"Playing cricket for Australia is my priority and then obviously BBL is a bonus over the summer. As long as I'm doing that, those other competitions aren't really in my calculations. I think the players have been pretty open about their feedback towards the BBL - I definitely have.

"I still love the BBL. It's been a huge part of my career and the [overseas player] draft brings something new to it. Obviously there's the whole David Warner story that's going on in the background but if we can somehow get the best players playing in it, it's obviously best for the competition."

Over 150 overseas players have been nominated for this month's player draft but a number of them will only be available for the first seven or eight games of the season before leaving for the UAE or South Africa. But leading Australian players are due to be available for a greater proportion of the tournament than usual this year, while several Test players - including Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Steven Smith - are in talks about the possibility of signing deals.

Zampa himself, meanwhile, has a year left on his Melbourne Stars contract and is in talks about an extension. "There's a little opportunity for those guys to play BBL this year," he said. "If we can somehow get the best players playing as many games as possible, you'll get kids interested and you'll get people watching it on TV, which is the reason we're doing it.

"It's just the way of the world now with franchise cricket. If we can get some of the best players in the world coming in even for half of it, you're going to get people watching it. In an ideal world, you'd have certain players available for the whole competition but sometimes it doesn't work out that way.

"[Administratiors] have played their cards with the length of it. We played 14 games over the space of seven or eight weeks: I don't mind the 14 games part of it but sometimes two months can kind of drag out. When you're trying to get the best players in the world to come over and play a whole competition, it's probably a little bit too much to ask. I don't have an issue with the number of games but if they can condense it down into a five or six-week period where you'll get the best overseas players coming for the whole time, I think that would make a lot of sense."

Zampa, speaking at KP Snacks' summer cricket roadshow at St. David's Shopping Centre in Cardiff, is in the UK for the first five games of the Hundred, before leaving for Australia's ODI series against Zimbabwe. He took 0 for 20 in 15 balls in the season opener on Wednesday night as Welsh Fire were hammered by Southern Brave, his first appearance in nearly four months after missing the tour to Sri Lanka on paternity leave.

"It's a good opportunity for me to play in a new competition," he said. "We missed last year due to our series against Bangladesh and it's a good chance for me just to play some cricket because I've been away from work for a while now.

"The standard of the competition is good. There's great depth and you have these guys who are coming out of county cricket and are really fearless in the way they play. I haven't played for a little while so it's nice to be back and I'm loving being part of this competition and the innovation of it.

"Next year, we don't really have any clashes with the Hundred and it would be nice. It's really hard playing franchise cricket, getting relationships quickly and then having to leave. Obviously international cricket is first and foremost but hopefully next year it lines up and we can play all of the Hundred."

Fire play their first home game of the 2022 season against Southern Brave in Cardiff on Sunday afternoon "We had a packed house the other night at Southampton and it just felt good to be among that atmosphere," Zampa said. "I'm excited to play a home game: obviously it was a really tough start the other night for us, so it would be great to turn that around in front of the Welsh fans."

KP Snacks, Official Team Partner of the Hundred, are touring the country this summer to offer more opportunities for people to play cricket as part of their 'Everyone In' campaign. Visit everyonein.co.uk/about.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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