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Zampa to India: You must be joking!

(AAP Image/SNPA, John Cowpland)
Roar Pro
12th January, 2017
15

The case for South Australian Redback Adam Zampa being chosen for the upcoming tour of India has more holes in it than a sieve.

The 24 year-old New South Welshman, born in Shellharbour and now playing first-class cricket for the Redbacks, bowls right-arm leg-breaks. For a bowler, he’s a reasonable batsman with a first-class batting average of 24.17, and a high score of 74.

For those claiming that “Adam Zampa is a must for the Test team in India” we need to acknowledge what the tour of India actually involves. It is Test cricket that will be played. Real cricket, 5-day cricket, not ODIss or T20s.

Zampa’s statistics in T20 cricket are very impressive, with a bowling average of 17.88. Even in ODIs his average is an acceptable 27.8.

But it is real cricket that the Australians are going to play in India, under the unique conditions of the sub-continent, and the Aussies don’t have a very impressive record when playing under those conditions.

The only way to describe Adam Zampa’s first-class bowling analysis and performances is ‘underwhelming’, to say the least.

This young man is no longer a novice. Zampa has now chalked up 25 first-class matches and bowled in 43 innings, having sent down 4514 balls – that’s 752.2 overs – and has claimed 62 wickets. That represents a strike rate of 72.8, or a wicket only every 12 overs. So what?

The real problem with even considering Adam Zampa for the tour of India, which obviously implies that he would be bowling against the best Indian batsmen and experts on batting in sub-continent conditions, is that Zampa’s first-class bowling average is 50.35 runs per wicket.

If only that was his batting average, that would solve the question as to who should bat at No.6.

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Zampa does not play all games, even, for South Australia, chosen only when it is believed that conditions will be advantageous. That makes his 50.35 average even more unimpressive.

To state the obvious, there is virtually no relationship between real, first-class cricket and T20, and to a lesser extent ODIs.

The a priori truth of this lack of relationship is proved, beyond question, by simply looking at Zapa’s statistics, 50.35 compared to 17.88. They simply don’t match up.

They don’t match up because in real first-class cricket you must earn your wickets. In T20 you just send ’em down, wait to be bashed and will always collect a wicket or two along the way by simply being at the bowling crease. Bowling later in the T20 innings simply enhances the chance of picking up a wicket or two.

There is simply no logic in the suggestion that Zampa should go to India. He can’t take wickets at a reasonable average in the Sheffield Shield competition, but somehow, he’s being considered, by some, that he’s capable of bowling out India’s best!

You’ve got to be joking.

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