Spinner Adam Zampa is well aware of the vital role he will play in Australia’s ICC T20 World Cup title defence later this year, but he has the perfect “game-changer” to keep himself grounded ahead of what could a historic tournament.
Zampa and his wife Hattie Palmer welcomed baby Eugene into the world just five weeks ago, and while they have faced every new parents’ challenges together the 30-year-old tweaker is relishing his new-found role.
“It’s great, yeah,” said Zampa, whose face instantly brightened at the mention of his baby boy.
“It’s obviously a new challenge, but I’m actually finding it to be the best distraction in the world from everything else going on.
“There’s obviously going to be a lot of work coming up, a lot of cricket, but I’m pretty excited about the fact I’ll have my little fella to distract me from it.
“That’s what all the boys say, you can have a shit day at work, go home and see your baby, it’s a game-changer.”
Zampa missed Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka for baby Eugene’s arrival, but he will return to the national squad for their upcoming One Day Internationals and the T20 World Cup.
The countdown to the T20 World Cup is now into double digits, with Zampa marking the milestone by taking the coveted silverware out to the Great Barrier Reef with Cairns personalities presenter Erin Holland and Paralympian Grant “Scooter” Patterson.
Zampa was also joined by a number of junior Far North cricketers on the trip to the new Magic Reef Pontoon, where he took the silverware – protected in a large perspex box – underwater in arguably the most exciting and picturesque leg of the ICC T20 World Cup trophy tour.
“It was a great day,” Zampa said.
“Pretty full-on, but it was a cool experience to go to the reef. Got the red carpet pulled out for us that’s for sure.
“No, we weren’t allowed to take the actual trophy into the ocean, it was protected.”
Australia won that piece of coveted piece of silverware for the first time in November last year, and will not have held it for 12 months when their title defence starts against New Zealand at the Sydney Cricket Ground on October 22.
They won that title under the direction of Justin Langer, who left the head coaching role in February after almost four years in the position.
Andrew McDonald stepped up as head coach in April, though Zampa does not expect any change to the way the team plays given the former all-rounder played a key role in planning and preparation for their successful World Cup tilt at the end of last year.
And Zampa, who made his T20I debut in 2016, is ready to make a major impact as Australia seeks to become the first team to defend the title and become the second team to win it twice.
The tweaker, the No. 5 ranked T20 bowler in the world, said he fully understood the role he played in the side.
“I feel like I’m an important cog in the team,” Zampa said.
“I try and play team-first cricket, whether it’s to bowl the first over or the 20th over.
“Obviously (it’s) dependant on the situation and the surfaces and things like that, but my role to get wickets in the middle, which is a big part of winning T20 games, is important.
“I understand my importance, I understand my role as well.
“It’s always going to be hard to defend, I don’t think anyone’s ever done it for the T20 World Cup.
“You’ve got to earn the right to defend it, you have to play well in the group stages and then win the right moments later on in the tournament.
“But I’m very confident with the squad that we’ve got that’s for sure, it’s a good mix of experience, guys who have been part of T20 World Cups now who have won them too.
“We’ve got a good squad.”
And if the tournament, or any game along the way, doesn’t go to plan for Zampa, coming home to Eugene’s smiling face will instantly wash any disappointment away.
■ The T20 World Cup starts in October, with the final to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 13.
Originally published as Adam Zampa reveals ‘game-changer’ ahead of T20 World Cup title defence