May 042013

Adam Zampa

Adam Zampa is a huge Shane Warne fan but says comparisons with the great spinner are a joke. Picture: Simon Bullard Source: The Daily Telegraph

GROWING up, Adam Zampa must’ve watched the YouTube clip 100 times. Probably more.

Sat there, glued to the computer screen, rehashing the same 12-minute highlights reel of that human highlights reel, Shane Warne.

“I’ve watched that many videos of Warne and Stuart MacGill on YouTube, it’s not funny,” Zampa said.

“There’s the greatest moments of Shane Warne, which goes for about 15 minutes. I watched that one about 100 times. Still do – but that’s just to get some goosebumps really.

“The one that spins out of the rough to Chanderpaul is the best. Warne was around the wicket, threw it way out into the rough and it spun back a mile. It’s pretty amazing.”

Now saddled with the tag of the nation’s best leg-spin prospect since Warnie – and packing the blond locks and carbon-copy action to fan the flames – the 21-year-old is shifting from NSW to a new home at Adelaide Oval in his bid to turn his baggy green dream into reality.

The former Blues and Sydney Thunder leggie signed with the Redbacks and Adelaide Strikers three weeks ago thinking he would be SA’s third spinner behind skipper Johan Botha and Test tweaker Nathan Lyon.

But Lyon’s shock return to NSW last week gave Zampa an instant promotion to coach Darren Berry’s No. 2 slow man.

“With the attack that NSW have at the moment, it’s so strong as a fast bowling unit,” he said.

“I just thought that my pathway would be blocked a bit and I wouldn’t get as many overs as I’d like. That’s why the move to Adelaide is so exciting for me. I think Chuck’s attitude to spin bowling is great, and he’s got a bit of an old-school approach to coaching which suits me.

“And the opportunity to play at Adelaide Oval, where it tends to break up late in a game, should help me as well.”

Zampa, from NSW coastal town Warilla, just south of Wollongong, comes to Adelaide with big wraps from people who know their stuff.

Retired off-spinner Greg Matthews once rated him “only 500 per cent better than I was at the same age”, and promised he was destined for international cricket. Pace great Lenny Pascoe has dubbed him a “clone” of Warne.

YouTube vision of the pair’s actions shown during Fox Sport’s coverage of last season’s Big Bash League shows just how similar their delivery method is.

And if that’s not enough, Zampa’s 10 wickets at 23.9 in his three Sheffield Shield matches for NSW is slightly better than Warne’s 25.41 Test average.

 So, boiled down, there’s just the small matter of 708 Test wickets and a supermodel squeeze separating them.

But Zampa said he had no interest in the “next Warnie” hype.

“When I was young and I’d first started bowling leg-spin I tried to copy Warnie as much as I could,” Zampa said.

“Everyone said, `you may as well try and copy the best’. But I’m still working on what my best bowling action will be. I’ll always be working on that.

“As for the comparisons, I know people have been talking about it but I know deep down it’s a bit of a joke, really. He’s a one of a kind and I’m just a 21-year-old leg-spinner who’s looking to learn.

“I know that playing Test cricket is the toughest form of cricket you can play and I’m just trying to learn to get there. That’s why I’ve come to SA, I want to play as much Sheffield Shield cricket as I can and bowl as many overs as I can. I think going to Adelaide will help me with that for sure.”

Zampa, who only took to bowling leggies as a 13-year-old when his father told him he likely wouldn’t grow big enough to be a quick, said the dustpile of spinners since Warne was no deterrent in honing his craft.

“I guess there just hasn’t been enough good-performing leg spinners around the country since Warnie left,” he said.

“The blokes who have been doing well are your Nathan Lyons and Michael Beers, who are finger spinners. Now that (refugee leg-spinner) Fawad (Ahmed) has come onto the scene he’s been doing well and been spoken about.

“I just think it’s a lack of performances. Hopefully I can get some consistent performances, (Victorian leggie) James Muirhead can get some consistent performances and Cam Boyce up in Queensland. It’s just about bowling, learning, taking wickets and improving.”

Zampa flies to Brisbane today for a three-month stint at Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence, teamed with the likes of Pat Cummins, Mitch Marsh and young speedster Gurinder Sandhu.

The camp includes a brief stint in Sri Lanka before Zampa shifts to Adelaide in August.

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