Former Australia assistant coach Sridharan Sriram is disappointed that spinner Adam Zampa is not with the touring team for the four-match Test series against India beginning on February 9.
Sriram said that Zampa was someone who could ‘hold’ his action for long periods of time like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, something which Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson might find difficult in tough subcontinental conditions.
Veteran tweaker Nathan Lyon, Agar, leg-spinner Swepson and young off-spinner Todd Murphy got the nod in the 18-member Australia squad with Zampa missing out.
Sriram, who served the Australian team for six years, has seen Zampa evolve his game, and felt the 30-year-old wrist spinner’s ability to zip the ball would be hugely missed by Pat Cummins’ side during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“I personally would have loved to see Zamps bowl here (in India), because he’s got the pace, he’s got that zip off the pitch,” Sriram was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday.
“That’s something I keep an eye out for, who has got the ability to beat you off the pitch, so I think that Zamps has got that,” said Sriram who has also played eight ODIs for India between 2000 and 2004.
Sriram, also a domestic heavyweight having scored more than 9,500 first-class runs, added Zampa was extremely keen to tour India and had even called him up a couple of times.
“He wanted it more than anyone, he wanted to play Test matches in India, he had called me a couple of times a couple of months ago saying ‘Sri, I’m so excited that I could be on that tour’, so he wanted it and he started to play first-class cricket for NSW. He did well, three wickets in each innings, so he’s pretty disappointed that he’s not on this tour.” Sriram said the challenges of sustaining spin at a high level for long periods will Test Australia.
“You can bowl a bit slower or a bit quicker, but you still need that zip off the pitch, and for that your action needs to be really strong. What Ashwin and Jadeja and Nathan Lyon do really well is being able to hold their action for long periods of time in conditions which are tough to bowl on, the heat or whatever,” said the 46-year-old Sriram.
He added that Agar and Swepson could find it difficult to get the same zip as Zampa for extended periods of time.
“That will be the challenge for Sweppo and Ash (Agar), to hold their action together, to get that same zip off the pitch, even on day three or four as the innings goes on, and as they’re into their 30th or 35th over, can they still be as effective as they were in their first five or 10 overs.” Sriram, however, said Australia had no such worries in the pace-bowling department, with the likes of Cummins and Josh Hazlewood being masters of their craft.
“Our quicks are very seasoned with that, Cummins or Hazlewood, they’re very good in coming back in their second or third spell and that’s what makes them the greats that they are in the modern game, whereas our spinners are not used to that. They’re not used to bowling those long spells.” He said strengthening the technical base ahead of a tough series is a key aspect along with keeping a tab on what the rival team is doing differently.
“A lot of spinners in India have a rubber band around their fingers and just keep strengthening it, so that your fingers are strong, they don’t get tired bowling long spells,” Sriram said.
“And technically you’ve got to keep an eye on anything they’re doing different technically. But to establish that technical base before a series starts is very important,” he added.
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