Australia’s summer of Test cricket has come to an end, the debate about who should feature in India come February has begun, and when it comes to the subcontinent, it’s the spinners who provide the most discussion.
Which and how many spinners will the selectors take on this four-Test match series over in India?
Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe will be on the plane, but Adam Zampa has gone from strength to strength.
Zampa has become a wrist spinner of immense quality – ODI stats of 30 wickets at 27.80, and nine wickets at 17.88 in T20 shows the man has what it takes to be a successful international cricketer.
It might only be early days, but it’s a promising start. When an opportunity has presented itself he has taken it with both hands.
Those who are against Zampa joining the touring party to India will inevitably look towards his first-class statistics: 62 wickets at 50.35 won’t please the purists, but there are certainly factors leading to those statistics. The main factor is the pitches.
As we have seen through the Test summer, the pitches in Australia are roads and offer absolutely nothing to spin bowlers. Look at Yasir Shah: his statistics in the latest Test series against Australia saw him finish with eight wickets at an average of 84.
We are talking about the best international spinner going around, struggling on Australian pitches.
As much as I am for players performing in the first-class arena in order to gain a baggy green, there should be an exception.
Despite having a short career, Zampa has played enough cricket in those conditions to understand how to bowl in subcontinental conditions.
The ICC World T20 in India, the Indian Premier League and an ODI tour of Sri Lanka have seen Zampa succeed, because his bowling is perfectly suited to the conditions.
While the above are not the longer formats of the game, Zampa has shown he can bowl well on the subcontinent and that’s crucial.
He bowls at the correct speed and trajectory for India. In terms of his line and lengths, he attacks the stumps and that is perfectly suited to the conditions. He may not be the biggest turner of the ball, but his subtle variations make him a real weapon and will keep the Indian top order guessing.
What also is reassuring is his confidence. It’s difficult to find leg-spinners who back themselves regardless of the situation. Zampa loves the contest and that’s exactly what Australia need in such a tough place for foreign cricketers.
A wrist spinner almost feels a must if Australia are to have any success in a country to which they have not enjoyed travelling. If given the opportunity, this could be the making of Zampa’s Test career.
The Australian selectors need to be creative, and selecting Zampa would be that.
Shane Warne may not have had the success he would have liked during his time in India, but Zampa is different. Being a unique leg-spinner will work in his favour, and give him a chance of having success in a place not many travelling leg-spinners do.