Adam Zampa, the man who many believe was the best player at the last T20 World Cup, admits he was shattered to miss out on another chance to take on the world’s best at this year’s Indian Premier League.
The bizarre economy of cricket’s most lucrative event was underscored last weekend as Tim David, the Hobart Hurricanes power-hitter forging a reputation through franchise cricket, became the highest-paid Australian while well-known international stars like Aaron Finch, Steve Smith and Zampa received no pray.
Zampa’s snub reflected the abundance of India’s home-grown spin talent and the preference of teams to stock up on overseas allrounders and fast bowlers, with other leading white-ball spinners like Adil Rashid, Tabraiz Shamsi, Imran Tahir and Mujeeb Ur Rahman also attracting no interest.
The fact Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga, a leg-spinner who also offers handy lower-order batting, was bought for just shy of A$2m highlighted the demand for multi-skilled players and the fine line between a major payday and earning nothing.
“I missed out at the IPL auction unfortunately. I’m a little bit flat about that to be honest,” Zampa, who took 13 wickets at an economy rate of 5.81 for the title-winning Aussies at the T20 World Cup last year, told the Unplayable Podcast.
“I thought if there was ever a year that I was going to get the opportunity over there again, it would have been this year.
“Just with the way that I’m bowling and, from a personal point of view, I just feel like my game’s at a point where I just want to be playing the best cricket possible.
“International cricket is that and then the next thing after that is the IPL.”
His close friend Kane Richardson, who was also ignored at the auction, said this week that franchises may have held the pair’s decision to leave last year’s first stage of the IPL early against them, despite the tournament being postponed not long after anyway due to India’s devastating wave of COVID-19 deaths.
Zampa disagreed, suggesting simple supply and demand was a bigger factor.
“It’s very hard as an overseas spinner, particularly if you’re just a specialist spinner who’s not so much of a mystery spinner,” said the 29-year-old.
“The mega-auction, the way it panned out, they spent a lot of money on fast bowlers, a lot of money on allrounders and even batsmen don’t get great money. They get okay money.
“And then once all that money gets spent, they go, ‘Okay, we need some spinners now,’ and usually they feel like the local guys can do an okay job anyway.
“I think there’ll be opportunities maybe next year with the IPL though … I think I’d be a valuable addition to any of those squads particularly with the way that I’m bowling at the moment.”
The silver lining for Zampa will be an extended spell at his Byron Bay home following white-ball series against Sri Lanka (which concludes with T20s at the MCG on Friday and Sunday) and Pakistan (with three ODIs and a T20I to be played in Rawalpindi in March-April).
Zampa was frank about the effects of bio-secure bubbles, admitting there was “generally a pretty flat kind of energy at the moment” among his BBL and national teammates.
His wife Harriet is due to give birth to the couple’s first child in early June, meaning Zampa will likely miss the mooted limited-overs matches on Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka this year.
“After the end of this season, I’m looking at a really good break which will be nice for me,” he said.
“I was one of those guys last year that probably could have missed the West Indies, Bangladesh tours with bubble fatigue but I put work first before anything else.
“But this year is probably going to be a little bit different. I’ll try and put my feet up, look after family and look to get going again in July so with a few months preparation for the World Cup.”
After missing the third Dettol T20I against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, Zampa will return to Australia’s XI for tonight’s match and will likely form a dual spin attack with Ashton Agar.
Dettol T20 Series v Sri Lanka 2022
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head*, Moises Henriques, Josh Inglis, Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa * unavailable for first three matches
Sri Lanka squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Janith Liyanage, Kamil Mishara, Ramesh Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Thushara, Dushmantha Fernand Chameer Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Shiran Fernando
Game 1: Australia won by 20 runs (DLS)
Game 2: Australia won in a Super Over
Game 3: Australia won by six wickets
February 18: Fourth T20, MCG, 7.10pm AEDT
February 20: Fifth T20, MCG, 5.10pm AEDT
All matches broadcast exclusively on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports. Radio coverage by ABC Grandstand, Triple M and SEN