Adam Zampa recently moved up to ninth spot in the ICC ODI rankings for bowlers, claiming another feat for his impressive white-ball record.
The leg-spinner is also ranked fourth in the ICC T20I rankings for bowlers, making his exclusion from the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) questionable at best.
In the T20 format, in particular, he has proven to be a very tough bowler to play against with his sharp googlies and straight balls, alongside subtle variations in pace (which in a sense makes up for his lack of Shane Warne-esque turn).
He has an incredible ability to not give away loose deliveries and build pressure through dot balls, denying batters the chance to release pressure through attacking shots. In turn, he reaps the rewards through crucial wicket-taking opportunities.
With four of the top five bowlers in the ICC T20I rankings all being leg-spinners (Adil Rashid - third, Rashid Khan - fifth and Wanindu Hasaranga - sixth), they are considered valuable assets in the shortest format of the game, and even increase the attractability of the sport by balancing the contest between the bat and ball.
Leading Indian broadcaster Harsha Bhogle tweeted after the IPL Auction in February:
“Some excellent spinners from overseas going unsold. Tells you about the kind of players the IPL is looking for. A Ferguson goes for 10cr because his skill is rarer than that of Adam Zampa who finds no takers.”
In T20Is, he's taken 70 wickets from 61 matches at an average of 21.11.
Meanwhile, in the ODI format, he took his 100th wicket on Tuesday in the ongoing Pakistan-Australia series. His 38/4 handed Australia victory in the first match as Pakistan crumbled to 225 all out while chasing 314.
Did Zampa deserve to be picked up by an IPL franchise?
As the IPL 2022 edition reaches the end of its first week, absentees from the league have become more noticeable than at the time of auction.
If there ever was a time for Zampa to be included in the IPL, it would seemingly be now. He has built an incredible career as a mainstay of the Australian white-ball teams, displaying his value on the international stage time and time again.
He was arguably 'pipped' for the Player of the Tournament in last year's ICC T20 World Cup with an outstanding tally of 13 wickets. Only Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasaranga (16) claimed more wickets in the tournament.
Although Wanindu's individual tournament was unblemished, the Lankan had no bearing on how the World Cup unfolded in the way Zampa did.
Earlier this year, he set up a series victory at home against Sri Lanka, returning with figures of 18/3 and 26/1, respectively, in the first two matches.
Zampa himself admitted that he was left gutted when he was not picked up by an IPL franchise at the mega auction in February. He said:
"I missed out at the IPL auction unfortunately. I'm a little bit flat about that to be honest. I thought if there was ever a year that I was going to get the opportunity over there again, it would have been this year. Just with the way that I'm bowling and, from a personal point of view, I just feel like my game at a point where I just want to be playing the best cricket possible," Zampa told the Unplayable Podcast last month.
Zampa previously played in the IPL for the Rising Pune Supergiant in the 2016-17 season and Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2021. However, he surely deserves more chances in the premier T20 competition after reaching a career-high ranking in the ODIS and playing a key role behind Australia winning the T20 World Cup title last year.
Australians in IPL 2022
Glenn Maxwell (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Marcus Stoinis (Lucknow Super Giants), Tim David (Mumbai Indians), Josh Hazlewood (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders), Mitchell Marsh (Delhi Capitals), David Warner (Delhi Capitals), Daniel Sams (Mumbai Indians), Sean Abbott (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Matthew Wade (Gujurat Titans), Nathan Coulter-Nile (Rajasthan Royals), Aaron Finch (Kolkata Knight Riders), Riley Meredith (Mumbai Indians), Andrew Tye (Lucknow Super Giants), Jason Behrendorff (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Nathan Ellis (Punjab Kings).