There are always mini-battles to win in international matches. One such duel during India's upcoming tour of Australia will be between Indian captain Virat Kohli and Adam Zampa. Those who have followed the two players in recent years will know of the uneasy tension in the air when Adam Zampa scampers-in to ball to Kohli.
A googly here and Kohli might miss the ball, an inch more and the ball could be munched through extra cover. There's a subtle fire between the two players because Adam Zampa has trumped Kohli 7 times in international cricket, even though this success hasn't been a cakewalk.
"It was the first day I arrived [and], he [Kohli] WhatsApped me, I didn't have his number. He made it seem as if we had known each other forever," Adam Zampa told The Sydney Morning Herald.
Adam Zampa's candid interactions with Virat Kohli
For the next few weeks, the leggie from Australia and the Indian maestro bonded over coffee, meat-free food and travel interests. They shared anecdotes over beers and sodas and played a golf simulator on the team bus and in their rooms.
"He's absolutely not what you see on the cricket field," Zampa said. "He always brings his intensity to training and the game; he loves competition, and he hates losing as much as anyone. He probably shows it more than anyone. Once he's off the park, he's the most chilled guy. He's watching YouTube clips on the bus, and he'll laugh out loud."
Adam Zampa's description solidifies Kohli's image: a fire-breathing beast on the field, a fallible man off it. Zampa has seen the former on many occasions.
In one incident, Kohli read one of Zampa's cheeky comments on Kane Richardson's photo with Kohli and Ab de Villiers. To this, Kohli replied on the field after hitting a boundary off Adam Zampa. "Stay a long way from a Twitter, mate," Kohli had quipped then.
"There was a cricket clip recently from cricket.com.au, it was a funny run out. He was laughing about it for three weeks straight. He loves holding onto jokes like that. He talks about coffee, travelling, food. He's a really cultured guy. He's good to talk to, good fun," Adam Zampa added in the same interview.
This friendship perhaps adds another dimension to the battle. Adam Zampa has grown as the main Australian spinner in limited-overs cricket. The 28-year-old has shown his dexterity and skill against the world's best far too many times.
When the limited-overs series starts on November 27th, Zampa will be looking to increase his wicket tally against his RCB teammate. Kohli will surely be wary of what his friend will bring to the battle.