Zampa’s chance to fight off ODI contenders
WITH the distinctive Lloyd Pope looming on the horizon, Adam Zampa has a golden chance to make a statement about his future in Australian cricket at Adelaide Oval on Friday.
The talented leg-spinner and top three stalwart Shaun Marsh are set to return for the second one-day match against South Africa, with captain Aaron Finch praising Zampa for enhancing his wicket-taking potency during his stint out of the team.
D'Arcy Short and fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile shape as the two players most likely to make way to accommodate the changes as selectors continue to tinker with a line-up that desperately needs to find some cohesion soon with a World Cup defence looming in six months' time.
Marsh batted strongly in the nets on Thursday and is confident he is fit to return just days after having surgery to remove an abscess from his buttocks.
The left-hander was Australia's best one-day batsman in England earlier this year and is also motivated by the knowledge he can cement his place in the Test side with a big innings in Adelaide.
Australia's treatment of spinners in one-day cricket since Xavier Doherty played the last World Cup in 2015 has resembled a game of musical chairs.
Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar have come and gone, and are still in the mix, while red-headed, wrong-un bowling sensation Pope has also come onto the radar.
However, after expressing frustration at himself being dropped from the ODI tour of the UK back in June, Zampa will be restored to the box seat of Australian spinners vying for their place in the World Cup squad.
"He's been exceptional since he came back in," said Finch.
"He's someone we're looking at as a genuine wicket-taker. The importance of wickets in the middle overs, in T20 and one-day cricket, is so (crucial) and your spinner plays a huge role in that.
"From what I've seen so far in our centre wicket stuff and nets he's a lot more consistent than he was. He's always been reasonably accurate but now he's very accurate and spinning the ball a lot more which is so important."
A final call will be made on Marsh on match morning, in case his nasty injury flares up again overnight, but the expectation is he will return as the No.3.
"He seemed pretty good. He was very confident he can get up and play Friday," said Finch.
"There's still a little bit of soreness and a couple of stitches there so we'll have to see how that is tomorrow but all reports are really positive at the moment."
AUSTRALIA LIKELY: Aaron Finch (capt), Travis Head, Shaun Marsh, Chris Lynn, Alex Carey, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Every Test, ODI, T20I, and BBL match live. Get Sport HD + Entertainment with no lock in contract and no iQ4 set up costs. SIGN UP TODAY! T&C's Apply