Adam Zampa: Facing West Indies 'pretty daunting, but so much fun'
The legspinner's 2 for 20 was a key part of Australia's victory in the fourth game
With West Indies surging away in their chase on the fourth T20I, threatening to make a mockery of Australia's 189, Adam Zampa went to Aaron Finch and told him he wanted to bowl inside the Powerplay. It hadn't been part of the initial plan, with the legspinner set to be used when the fielding restrictions lifted, but such was the onslaught from Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis that Australia needed to change tack.
And it worked. With his fifth delivery, Zampa slid one through Lewis' attempt to cut and took the off stump. It was his first wicket of the series. When he returned for the ninth over he strung together three dots against Andre Fletcher and in his next skidded one through the struggling right hander.
Zampa would finish with the most economical figures on a night with nearly 400 runs: 2 for 20. It was in stark contrast to the previous game where Chris Gayle had taken 22 off his third over, but for Zampa nothing needed to change.
"It was just situational. I had a really good battle with Chris," he said. "He's the greatest T20 player of all time so I really enjoy those battles. Up until 2.2 overs I probably had it over him then he took me down in the last four balls so the numbers probably didn't reflect how the ball is coming out. Bowling to two right handers with a really high score, batters under pressure, was probably the change really."
The T20 arena can be both brutal and rewarding for a spinner. And there is nothing Zampa enjoys more than being in the tough situations.
"Once they've faced a couple of balls you know they'll try and hit you out of the park," he said of facing West Indies. "Bowling to Chris was such a great battle and I took a lot of confidence from just getting on top of him…I know he got me in the last four [balls], but it takes a lot of confidence to come back in the next game with the same attacking attitude and backing your plans defensively as well.
"They haven't played [Kieron] Pollard, you have guys like Chris and Fabian Allen who can hit the ball out of the park too, so it is pretty daunting but that's what makes playing against West Indies so much fun. It's satisfying when you do well against them, but it can be daunting when they are coming at you. It's a good challenge."
Zampa, currently ranked eighth in T20I bowling rankings, is an integral part of Australia's side having only missed one match since the start of the 2019-2020 season. However, that has come at the expense of his Test ambitions, with him having not played a first-class match since December 2019.
A first-class average of 48.26 would not suggest a bowler close to consideration - and he is certainly behind Mitchell Swepson - but Zampa does not believe those numbers are a reflection of the bowler he has now become and that he could translate white-ball form into the longer format.
"I played a lot of my first-class cricket when I was 21, 22, 23 which is six years ago. I did have the odd good game but wasn't consistent enough whereas if I played first-class cricket now I know my game well enough and confident enough to perform at that level.
"The conversations I'll be having with selectors once Test tours particularly to the subcontinent start up again is that I'm bowling well and keen to be on those tours. Don't think playing Shield cricket is the be-all and end-all to getting in the Test squad. If I'm bowling well at the time hopefully I'll be on them."
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo