Adam Zampa is four years old in international cricket, and is Australia's first-choice white-ball spinner, but he still doesn't feel "comfortable" at this level. Although that may not necessarily be a bad thing.
"Even now I don't feel comfortable, which is probably a good thing to be honest - same as any professional cricketer at this level," Zampa said after Australia won the Cape Town decider to seal the T20I series against South Africa. "I probably feel the same, but I haven't been comfortable since I've been playing professional cricket. So, hope it's a good thing that keeps me driven and as I said earlier, I hope for constant improvement. As I get older, get more experience, train harder and think about the game a bit different and think about it…"
Zampa and left-arm fingerspinner Ashton Agar had played central roles in Australia's 2-1 victory. While Zampa picked up five wickets at an economy rate of 5.89, Agar emerged as the top wicket-taker in the series, with eight scalps at an economy rate of 5.66. Agar took a career-best 5 for 24 in the T20I series opener, and Zampa said he relished bowling in tandem with Agar.
"I'm really confident after the Big Bash and it's nice to bowl well in this series too, but yeah it's probably very similar for Ash," Zampa said. "We speak about spin bowling a lot, we speak about our roles - we do a lot of preparation on the opposition and things like that we talk about a lot. And Ash keeps getting better and better every game as well. He is still a pretty young guy too. Probably took him a little bit longer because of the [holding] role he played at Perth Scorchers for a long time. But, yeah he's a frontline bowler now, and that's for sure. The more he plays, the better he gets."
Zampa also put the recent success down to his chemistry with Agar off the field.
"Yeah, really good combination," he said. "The best thing is we've got a really good friendship, and as I said before, the way we talk about it and understand that our roles might change day in and day out. So, yeah communication is huge and preparation and as I said our friendship is really close."
Australia will now turn their focus to the three-match ODI series, which begins in Paarl on Saturday, and Zampa touched upon the challenge of adapting to ODI cricket and tuning up for the T20 World Cup at home later this year.
"It actually takes a bit of adapting from T20 cricket to one-day cricket," he said. "It's not [similar], I don't find it to be similar at all to be honest - yeah it's going to be a good couple of days preparation and good confidence after this win. But, I think there is a different thought to how T20 works from one-day cricket.
"Yeah, I think we've found a really good combination. The batting side basically picks itself and then our bowling combination is really working at the moment. So, the line-up of our team is great and if we play that team going into the T20 World Cup and keep playing the way we do, we're going to give that a serious nudge."
Zampa had just played two T20Is when he was thrown into the previous T20 World Cup in India in 2016. Zampa, 23 then, was simply happy to be part of the tournament in which Australia exited without qualifying for the semi-finals. Four years on and armed with more experience playing for Australia and Melbourne Stars in the BBL, Zampa wants to win games in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
"I was just excited to be there [in 2016] and it was disappointing to lose," he recalled. "I just look back and think wow! I've played a World Cup, but I think it's a little bit different now. I've got the drive to win games for Australia. I think I can help that rather than thinking I'm just happy to be there."