KFC T20 INTLs v Sri Lanka

Zampa axing 'a kick in the guts'

Leg-spinner disappointed to have been left out of second T20I, points to some impressive stats to back up his case

Cricket Network

22 February 2017, 03:36 PM AEST

Australia spinner Adam Zampa has described his axing for the second KFC T20 against Sri Lanka as "a little bit of a kick in the guts", pointing to his recent form that indicates he's one of the best spinners in the world in 20-over cricket.

Zampa was a shock omission from Sunday's match at Kardinia Park, which Sri Lanka won to seal the three-match series, despite bowling well to take 2-26 in the series opener at the MCG.

The spinner was set to retain his place in the side before a change of mind from selectors on the day of the match, with skipper Aaron Finch explaining after play that the wet conditions in Geelong worked against the leg-spinner.

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And Zampa says the fact Australia lost the match and the series while he was sitting on the sidelines made his absence hurt even more.

"It was a little bit of a kick in the guts the other night," he told Sportsday SA. "I was told I was playing and then I turned up and they said that with the conditions (they were) thinking about going the other way.

"I would like to think that in the Twenty20 format in particular that I'm a regular, and just the other night they thought the conditions weren't going to suit. And they would have thought the game could have been shortened as well (due to rain), which doesn't help a spinner.

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"But my stats over the past 18 months show that I'm probably almost the best spinner in the world in Twenty20 cricket.

"I think for any spinner in the world who had more than 40 wickets last year in Twenty20 cricket, I had the best strike rate.

"There's not much I can keep doing other than performing and putting my hand up to win games for whatever team I'm playing for."

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While Zampa's claim to be the best T20 slow bowler in world cricket may surprise some, his numbers back up the statement.

The 24-year-old was the sixth-highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket in 2016 and the second-highest among spinners, taking 46 wickets at an average of 16.89 and an economy rate of 6.80.

His impressive average was the second-best among the top 10 wicket-taking spinners last year while his strike rate of 14.8 - which translates to a wicket every two-and-a-half-overs - was the second-best of any bowler to have taken 30 or more wickets (Indian seamer Dhawal Kulkarni was in top spot at 14.7) and the best among spinners. 

While Zampa struggled to comprehend his absence from the T20 side on Sunday, he says he understands why he has dropped in and out of Australia's one-day international side this season.

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The leg-spinner has established himself as Australia's premier frontline spinner in 50-over cricket but played only four of Australia's 10 ODIs over the summer, with selectors spoilt for choice when it comes to bowling options.

With pace weapons Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Faulkner often picked ahead of Zampa, and the off-spin of allrounder Travis Head a reliable option, Zampa said he can understand why he's not an automatic selection in that form of the game.

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"In one-day cricket they've made it pretty clear that leg-spinners will play a role when the conditions suit," he told Triple M.

"So I don't know if that means when the wickets are slow or spinning.

"But with the strength of our quicks that we have in our squad, that does make sense.

"So I've just got to take that on the chin."

Zampa is expected to return to Australia's XI for the final match of the series tonight at his home ground of the Adelaide Oval.