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Adam Zampa: World Cup opener will get Australia's 'juices flowing'

The legspinner is confident the team's recent defeats won't mean much when they face New Zealand

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
19-Oct-2022
Adam Zampa has brushed off concerns about Australia's form leading into their defence of the T20 World Cup title, believing that the extra edge provided by tournament play will bring the best of them.
Australia were beaten 2-0 by England in the three-match series, and it would likely have been 3-0 without rain in Canberra, then also lost a close warm-up game against India at the Gabba when they lost four wickets in four balls during a late collapse.
However, there has been a sense within the team that they have perhaps had a little too much cricket leading into the tournament - there was also a three-match series in India last month with Aaron Finch recently saying a bit of fatigue was a factor - and that it has been about biding their time ahead of facing New Zealand at the SCG on Saturday.
"I think the intensity of the cricket we've played recently has probably dropped slightly due to the fact we are keeping in mind how close the World Cup is," Zampa said. "And nothing gets the juices flowing like having a trophy there for the taking. We always want to perform our best when playing for Australia but think you'll see a few pumped boys for the World Cup.
"Think the comments about being tired were probably taken in the wrong way almost...the guys have been waiting around for this game for a while now."
Despite their recent losses Australia are considered one of the favourites for the tournament with added expectation of being on home soil where they were successful at the 2015 ODI World Cup. However, Zampa said that the nature of the T20 format means a rather philosophical approach is needed.
"Internally we all know T20 is a pretty fickle game," he said. "The worst that can happen is we don't win this thing, the best that can happen is that we defend our title at home at the MCG. Don't know if we are totally expected to win…but we do understand we should give it a red-hot crack. We have to earn the right to win it again. Last year we did that, we played some crucial cricket at crucial times [and] played our best cricket at the right time towards the end."
There has been a considerable amount of tinkering with Australia's T20 line-up in recent matches, but much of that was due to Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh being restricted in their bowling and with an eye on the main event. On Tuesday, national selector George Bailey indicated that, as expected, Steven Smith would not be in the starting XI, being replaced by Tim David in the one initial change from last year's winning team.
The weather could play a part over the coming days with a high chance of showers for the game at the SCG. As he has in the past when expecting dew to be a factor, Zampa has been training with a wet ball that he dumps in a bucket but also added that any dampness in the wickets could also provide assistance for the spinners.
"Feels like every time we are at the SCG or in Sydney we are looking for rain to come," he said. "The way that I train I always have it at the back of mind, usually have a bucket to drop the ball into to prepare for that.
"We play so much cricket under lights and a lot of the places we travel around the world, as soon as you bat first and bowl second to defend a total that dew really kicks in. Saw it last year in the World Cup. [Almost] every time you bowl second you are bowling with a wet ball so it's really important to prepare for that."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo