Adam Zampa needs his captain’s confidence

Giri Subramanian Roar Pro

By , Giri Subramanian is a Roar Pro

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    You can count the number of good leg spinners through the history of cricket with your hand, that’s how difficult they are to come by.

    Following Shane Warne’s retirement, Australia struggled to find a good spinner for almost decade, but have now unearthed Adam Zampa, who is extremely skilled and has had a good start to his ODI career.

    I am not for a minute comparing Zampa to Warne, but the youngster has all the making of a good spinner, yet Steven Smith though has been reluctant to play Zampa in the XI and even when he does, the skipper is reluctant to bowl him.

    The game against Bangladesh was a great example: Zampa was introduced only after 34 overs and only bowled four in total. Travis Head, on the other hand, as a part-time spinner bowled eight overs and Glenn Maxwell bowled one.

    It is really perplexing the way Smith handles an attacking bowling option. His justification of holding back Zampa because two lefties batting doesn’t fly, as you either trust your spinner or you don’t.

    Leg spinners are attacking and, yes, they are more likely to go for a few runs compared to an offie, but they are match winners too. In his short career, Zampa has 36 wickets from just 23 games at a good average of 28.

    When we look back at the history of non-subcontinental teams, except for Australia, none had an attacking spinner in the 1990s. South Africa, New Zealand and England played their spinners as run-saving options. A captain’s faith and confidence is huge for a spinner. The fact that none of the above teams had a wicket-taking spinner dictated the way they handled their bowlers. Spin was used as a defensive option with spread-out fields. Australia, on the other hand, had Warne, who was an attacking spinner and a genuine wicket taker.

    South Africa now understand the importance of a spinner. Imran Tahir is arguably the best limited-overs spinner in the world and he has been solely responsible for the change in mindset of team management. The Proteas captains are now not reluctant to include spinners as an attacking option and having two spinners in the South African squad is something we could not have imagined ten years ago.

    England also were lucky to find Graeme Swann, who was brilliant for them in all formats and was largely used as an attacking option in shorter formats.

    Spinners, especially when they are starting out, need the confidence of the captain and team management. Zampa is extremely talented and Smith will need to have some faith in the youngster.

    Smith captains Nathan Lyon in Test cricket and uses him as an attacking option, so it is not that he does not know how to handle spin bowlers. He probably does not have the confidence on Zampa yet, which can be detrimental so early in a career.

    Just as India struggled to understand fast bowling for a long time, and lost out on very good talents along the way, Australia would not want to miss out on the spin talent they have in hand.

    Good leg spinners are hard to come by – when you have one, you need to nurture the talent at your disposal. Adam Zampa has all the skills to become one of the leading spinners in the world and the only thing he possibly needs right now is an understanding captain.

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