Why Australia must show faith in Adam Zampa

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    Leg spinner Adam Zampa yesterday underlined why Australia must show faith in him as he and rookie paceman Jason Behrendorff bowled the tourists to a dominant Twenty20 win in India.

    Behrendorff (4-21) and Zampa (2-19) helped roll India for 118, a total which Australia overhauled with eight wickets in hand thanks to solid knocks by Moises Henriques (62 from 46 balls) and Travis Head (48 from 34).

    Zampa bowled better than he has all year, after being belted by the Indian batsmen during the recent five-match ODI series.

    That series was the worst of the 25-year-old’s international career as he gave up a whopping seven runs per over, while taking four wickets at 47 from three matches. In the ODIs, Zampa offered Australia neither control nor a wicket-taking threat in the middle overs, two things he had consistently provided during his brief career.

    But this is not new territory for a non-Asian spinner in India, where many visiting tweakers have been harshly dealt with in all three formats.

    Fortunately, Zampa seems to be a self-assured cricketer. For a bowler with such confidence, a rough spell such as this can be turned into a positive, allowing them to learn valuable lessons. That’s why it was important that Australia did not discard him after his torrid series.

    Yesterday, they were rewarded for their faith. Zampa avoided the same mistake of bowling far too straight, allowing the Indians to hit him down the ground or over the leg side. Many of his deliveries in the ODIs pitched on leg or middle stump and slid on to the pads of the Indian batsman.

    On a pitch which didn’t offer much assistance to the slow bowlers, Zampa yesterday shifted his line about 15cm wider, landing plenty of deliveries just outside off stump.

    He also pulled his length back a touch, forcing the Indian batsmen to advance down the pitch if they wanted to be able to drive with confidence. Bowling to a strong offside field, Zampa’s approach greatly reduced boundary opportunities.

    At his best, Zampa is a difficult bowler to strike to or over the boundary. That’s why he has been a success in every T20 competition in which he has played, from the Big Bash League to the Indian Premier League and the Caribbean Premier League.

    His career T20 record is outstanding, with 83 wickets at an average of 19 and a fantastic economy rate of 6.99 runs per over. Zampa has been even better in his 12 T20s for Australia, averaging just 15 with an economy rate of 5.92.

    While a Test or ODI team can be elite without having a quality spinner – South Africa managed that for many years – the same is not true in T20s. Spinners dominate the shortest format and no bowler is more valuable than a good wrist spinner.

    In Zampa, Australia have a potentially elite T20 bowler, and a potentially above-average ODI spinner. They haven’t possessed the latter for a long time, and the former ever. If they are to win the next World T20 in 2020, finally breaking their drought at that tournament, Australia will need to boast a world-class short form spinner. Right now, Zampa is clearly the best candidate. He must be nurtured.

    Australia's Adam Zampa bowls

    AAP Image/SNPA, John Cowpland

    As well as Zampa bowled, it was left-arm quick Behrendorff who set up the win.

    Western Australia fans, such as myself, have long been aware of just what an extraordinary talent Behrendorff is. It’s surprising that it has taken him so long to earn his international debut, which came in the first T20 on Saturday.

    What has made WA supporters salivate for years is the 27-year-old’s ability to earn sharp, late swing with the new ball.

    This rare gift was on show yesterday, as Behrendorff scythed through the potent Indian batting line-up. Midway through his third over, he had the remarkable figures of 4-12, having dismissed Indian superstars Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, as well as impressive newcomer Manish Pandey.

    Bowling at up to 140kmh, Behrendorff not only troubled the Indians with his swing but also with the sharp lift he earns off a length. His upright action makes the most of his 194cm height.

    As I flagged in the lead up to his debut, this series could be crucial for Behrendorff’s Test ambitions.

    If Jason Behrendorff wants to play in the Ashes, T20s against India are key

    With James Pattinson ruled out of the Ashes through injury, Behrendorff is suddenly jockeying with the likes of Jackson Bird and Chadd Sayers to be Australia’s number one back-up paceman for the home Test series.

    While it is obviously a vastly different format, Behrendorff’s sublime performance yesterday will have boosted his chances.

    More importantly, for Australia, it enabled them to record their first truly commanding win of what has been a poor limited overs tour.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (46)

    • October 11th 2017 @ 1:49pm
      millazzzz said | October 11th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

      Qld currently getting pumped by WA in the JL Cup. Shaun Marsh and Klinger taking them apart. Matthew Renshaw is having a bowl so it looks like that 5th bowling option at number 6 for the Ashes is now surplus to requirements.

    • October 11th 2017 @ 1:56pm
      jameswm said | October 11th 2017 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

      Don’t forget the other option for backup paceman.

      Who is by far the best performed pacemen in the JLT cup? 30 overs, 5 for 80? Incredible stuff.

      Batted once as well, for 60 off 40.

      • October 11th 2017 @ 2:04pm
        BurgyGreen said | October 11th 2017 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

        Siddle has had a good career but we know what he’s capable of. At his best at Test level he’s a good, miserly workhorse. Behrendorff has much greater potential than that in my opinion.

        • Columnist

          October 11th 2017 @ 5:56pm
          Ronan O'Connell said | October 11th 2017 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

          I agree with Burgy here, Siddle is a wonderfully whole-hearted bowler but he long ago lost his penetration at Test level.

          In his past 10 Tests he took only 25 wickets and his strike rate was a whopping 81.4. He is still capable of bowling tightly at Test level, I’m sure, but he hasn’t been a threatening Test bowler for 4-5 years now, particularly on flatter pitches.

          In the day-night Test at Adelaide, on a seaming deck, he’d be a good option but even then there are several other bowlers ahead of him.

    • October 11th 2017 @ 2:08pm
      Ouch said | October 11th 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

      I thought this T20 game was on Thursday night so missed it. Good to see several things – Berendorff getting amongst the wickets, Zampa bowling well and Moises getting some runs.
      I’ve mentioned before that i reckon Warner is a better Captain than Smith and that has only strengthened.
      Just missing a fit Chris Lynn

    • October 11th 2017 @ 3:15pm
      Paul said | October 11th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

      There’s no doubt Warner’s a very astute tactical captain, at least in the short forms of the game, but his performances on the field are only one aspect of captaincy. It would be good to know how he manages sides off the field, because at one stage in his early career, Warner was a very divisive figure in the dressing room.

      Smith, on the other hand, manages all aspects of captaincy very well with the exception of his use of bowlers. He is also a much better example to follow, both with the bat and as a fielder, than Warner, though there is not a lot between them when Warner is “on”.

      Somehow, Smith has to learn how to better manage his bowlers and he will be a fine all round captain. That might come from listening/watching Warner. Hopefully he’s not too proud to take advice from others.

      • October 11th 2017 @ 3:21pm
        twodogs said | October 11th 2017 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

        Hard to ‘learn’ Captaincy. You either are or are not.

        • October 11th 2017 @ 5:27pm
          DavSA said | October 11th 2017 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

          For sure twodogs .It also goes without saying that that same person need not necessarily be the best player in the team.

          • October 11th 2017 @ 7:30pm
            Paul said | October 11th 2017 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

            Completely agree with the last bit of your comment. Mark Taylor was only briefly a truly outstanding batsman but was first choice as skipper and was very good at it.

            I’m not saying Smith should be captain because he’s the best bat. We need guys, especially in Tests, to get in, stay in and make runs. Warner needs to set an example, show he’s got good temperament like Smith does, then score consistently in all countries. Right now, he can score runs consistently in Australia and Sth Africa and that’s about it

        • October 11th 2017 @ 7:17pm
          Paul said | October 11th 2017 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

          Your point is where I have issues with Warner but not Smith.

          You are talking about the instinctive decision to change bowlers, keep bowlers on for longer spells, etc. I agree this is something Smith will never learn. If however he has guys in his side who have that instinct and he uses them effectively, that can be learnt and applied which would make him a good captain.

          My other point is, Warner has “form” off the field. He might be a better on-field manager of players, but that’s only part of it. He needs to be a leader in discussion with CA, a representative in international forums, managing pressure when his side is consistently under performing, etc. This is not his strength, yet is still a critical role, but Warner simply hasn’t got it. Maybe he can learn how to do this sort of stuff, but as it stands, I still think Smith has more potential than Warner to be a very good captain.

          • October 11th 2017 @ 9:39pm
            Don Freo said | October 11th 2017 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

            Your Warner “form off the field” comment is just ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the “divisive” stuff.

            Warner has married, had a kid and become almost a servant of the institution since his “I want to hit you” little kid days. Have you noticed the calendar has shifted since then?

            Warner has never been divisive. Name an instance.

            • October 11th 2017 @ 10:19pm
              Mike Dugg said | October 11th 2017 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

              Plus he wears all day socks and likes to watch cartoons on TV. Dave has grown up

            • October 12th 2017 @ 12:49pm
              qwetzen said | October 12th 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

              So all the Australian players & fans supported his drunken & abusive Twitter rant at Craddock? Ditto for his throwing a punch at Joe Root. And the whole nation was right behind his crass sledging? I think not Don.

              • October 12th 2017 @ 1:13pm
                Don Freo said | October 12th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

                Craddock? That was, what, 10 years ago? My goodness, you didn’t read my posy at all, did you? By the way, Warner was right then.

                You have said some really silly things on this site but we don’t hold it against you. People grow. Warner impresses me. If what he did years ago lingers in your judgements, you still have some growing to do.

              • October 13th 2017 @ 12:24am
                TheCunningLinguistic said | October 13th 2017 @ 12:24am | ! Report

                I think he actually has two kids now, Don… If we can split hairs?

              • October 13th 2017 @ 1:41am
                Don Freo said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:41am | ! Report

                Is that how it happens?

    • October 11th 2017 @ 7:05pm
      BrainsTrust said | October 11th 2017 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

      The Australian bowlers with better economy rates in the IPL last season are Maxwell,Tye, Mitchell Johnson.
      Maxwell it was his best year by far and the most bowling he did in the IPL
      The first thing they should do is bowl Maxwell and have more batting.
      Zampa would then be an option based on the condition and opposition.
      The reason Zampa was paid so low in the IPL is he offers little extra with the bat
      Australia contract system isn’t flexible enough, if players were given the option to commit to T20 internationals only they would do so as playing India in T20 is worth it in additional exposure. Why not pick the best paid, Though you have to watch out for overpaid turkeys , Shane Watson the biggest paid has gone downhill,

    • October 13th 2017 @ 12:39am
      TheCunningLinguistic said | October 13th 2017 @ 12:39am | ! Report

      How good is the WA bowler production line?! In no particular order, these bowlers are all available (at different times) for WA:

      NCN, Behrendorff, M. Marsh, Paris, Cartwright, Stoinis, Tye, Agar, Turner, Mackin, Richardson, D’Arcy Short, plus relative newcomers, Moody and Kelly.

      That’s bloody impressive depth!

      • October 13th 2017 @ 1:44am
        Don Freo said | October 13th 2017 @ 1:44am | ! Report

        What annoys me is that we then import some Pommy plodder for The Scorchers and keep one of these kids out. (Willey…sheesh!!)

        • October 14th 2017 @ 12:52am
          Doctor Rotcod said | October 14th 2017 @ 12:52am | ! Report

          Do we have to?

      • October 14th 2017 @ 1:05am
        Doctor Rotcod said | October 14th 2017 @ 1:05am | ! Report

        That’s almost a Shield side, just lacking a wicketkeeper. Stoinis,Cartwright,Turner, Mitch Marsh and Agar can all bat. Justin Langer keeps on finding them and playing them

        • October 14th 2017 @ 3:06am
          Don Freo said | October 14th 2017 @ 3:06am | ! Report

          3 quality keepers too. Whiteman, Inglus, Bancroft (keeping beautifully in JLT.)

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