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Zampa Sweeps the Leg at T20I

Is that the Karate Kid turning the ball like a roundhouse kick?  No, that’s Adam Zampa. Australia’s 25-year-old premier T20 spinner.

How has he achieved such frightening form at such a tender age? It must be the trademark headband not dissimilar to Karate Kid Daniel Larusso’s that gives him his edge, serving the important purpose of keeping his blonde locks out of his eyes.

From the 10 T20 international matches, Zampa has claimed a total of 14 scalps at 15.14, proving that he is a match winner in the shortest format.

His best figures in the green and gold are 3/16 against Sri Lanka and he has consistently left many wondering if the rising leg-spinner should have debuted in Australia’s tour of India.

Zampa reinforced his claim at his home turf at Adelaide Oval earlier this year against Sri Lanka after controversially missing out on the second game of the series. Our adopted son took an impressive 3-25 on his way to earning man of the match honours as Australia secured a 41-run win, despite a 2-1 series defeat.

Coincidentally, Zampa swept the legs from under those who doubted his red-ball credentials whilst the Test team was in the subcontinent. With something to prove, he took his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket for the West End Redbacks against the Queensland Bulls at Adelaide Oval, and a maiden match 10-wicket haul.

It is perhaps no surprise then, that Australia’s captain and world’s best Test batsman Steve Smith wanted in on his young spinner’s headband strategy, borrowing it from Zampa right before scoring a century against Pakistan in an ODI earlier this year. Zampa naturally claimed credit for his headband’s undeniable powers.

“He (Smith) said he wanted to keep growing his beautiful long locks,” Zampa said, adding that his captain may or may not have described the challenge as “the most intense and hard-hitting of (his) career”.

“I said ‘I don’t know about them being beautiful, but you might want to keep them out of your eyes’. So I gave him a headband and he said he’d try it out.

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“I think the saddest part about it now for me is the multi-million-dollar headband deal might go to Smithy.”

While Mr Miyagi and Australian coach Darren Lehmann do draw comparisons, it is quite clear which leader the rising leg-spinner has most drawn inspiration from on his path to becoming the next Test spinner.

Wax-on, wax-off Zampa-san.