Zampa prioritises World Cup prep after IPL withdrawal

Australian leg-spinner withdraws from 2024 season with the Rajasthan Royals due to personal reasons

Adam Zampa is set to prioritise keeping himself fresh for Australia's T20 World Cup tilt after withdrawing from the Indian Premier League for personal reasons on the eve of the 2024 season.

Zampa was due to turn out for the Rajasthan Royals for the second straight season after being retained by the franchise for A$270,000, but his manager has confirmed to he will no longer take part in the tournament.

The 31-year-old has been on the road for the better part of eight months since last year's Major League Cricket tournament, and with another busy period of white-ball cricket ahead this winter with the World Cup in the Caribbean and Untied States and Australia's limited-overs tour of the UK in September, Zampa has decided now is the best time to take a break.

The leg-spinner also spends much of the Australian summer away from home and his young family in Byron Bay due to his commitments with Melbourne-based Big Bash club the Renegades.

Zampa missed the Renegades second match of last season in Geelong to recharge at home after spearheading Australia's remarkable ODI World Cup triumph in India over the previous two months.

That tournament saw Zampa push through back spasms and illness at various times to lead the Australian attack with 23 wickets at 22.39 – the equal most wickets for a spinner in a single World Cup campaign and second overall for 2023 behind India's Mohammed Shami (24).

Zampa was replaced in the Royals' squad ahead of their first match of the season on Sunday by local allrounder Tanush Kotian, who starred for Mumbai in the recently concluded Ranji Trophy.

World-class Indian spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal also remain part of their squad for the 2024 campaign.

Despite the presence of the star local spinners, the Australian leggie still managed six games last IPL season for a respectable return of eight wickets at an economy of 8.54.

Speaking in February after their 2-1 T20 series victory over the West Indies, Australia T20 skipper Mitch Marsh said Zampa loomed as the nation's "most important player" for the upcoming World Cup.

"'Zamps' is by far our most important bowler and probably our most important player in this team," Marsh said.

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Like Aussie fast bowler Mitchell Starc – who is set to return to the IPL this year for the first time since 2015 after being purchased by Kolkata Knight Riders for a league-record 24.75 IND crore (A$4.43m) – Zampa has prioritised playing for Australia and select franchise competitions around the world that will best prepare him for internationals.

He was retained by the Oval Invincibles for A$194,000 for this year's Hundred, prioritising the English competition over the American MLC as the best preparation for Australia's three-match T20I and five-match ODI tour of the UK in September.

Cricket Australia regularly sits down with players to map what their workloads over the next 12 to 24 months, which was evident during Australia's home summer when Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Starc, Glenn Maxwell, Marsh, Steve Smith and Travis Head sat out all or part of the white-ball series against the West Indies in February before returning for the tour of New Zealand later in the month.

"How players use that time and how they prepare, you'd hope that's giving them the best chance to succeed," men's national selection chair George Bailey said in January.

Zampa's next cricketing commitments are set to be Australia's warm-up matches prior to their T20 World Cup opener against Oman in Bridgetown on June 5 (June 6 AEST).

Fifteen Australians will feature in this year's IPL with Maxwell and Cameron Green set to be part of tonight's opening match of the tournament when their Royal Challengers Bangalore take on the Chennai Super Kings.

Australians in IPL 2024

Delhi Capitals: Mitch Marsh (A$1.2m), David Warner (A$1.16m), Jhye Richardson (A$890,000), Jake Fraser-McGurk (A$92,000)

Gujarat Titans: Spencer Johnson (A$1.78m), Matthew Wade (A$446,000)

Kolkata Knight Riders: Mitchell Starc (A$4.43m)

Lucknow Super Giants: Marcus Stoinis (A$1.7m), Ashton Turner (A$178,000)

Mumbai Indians: Tim David (A$1.53m)

Punjab Kings: Nathan Ellis (A$135,000)

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Cameron Green (A$3.15m), Glenn Maxwell (A$2m)

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Pat Cummins (A$3.67m), Travis Head (A$1.2m)

*Prices in AUD, conversions correct at time of auction