Adam Zampa is congratulated by Glenn Maxwell after taking a wicket.
Adam Zampa is congratulated by Glenn Maxwell after taking a wicket.

Lyon's World Cup fate sealed by Zampa resurgence

THE selection knives were out after Adam Zampa was preferred to Nathan Lyon in Australia's latest game, but the decision seems to have revived the leg-spinner's fortunes, according to former Australia spinner Brad Hogg. 

Hogg suspected Zampa's international career was close to expiring and, like Shane Warne, thought selectors would instead plump for Lyon for the clash against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge, which Australia won by 48 runs.

But after Zampa went largely unrewarded (1-68 off nine overs) despite bowling brilliantly on a pitch as flat as a pancake, Hogg said Lyon's World Cup dream looked over.

"It's definitely the best I've seen Zampa bowl in the last two or three years," Hogg said.

"He got dropped a couple of games ago and I just think this is the last roll of the dice for him.

"He's got to show something otherwise they'll move on after this World Cup.

"But he showed what he's actually got in his trick bag. He was turning the ball a lot more, he was getting a lot more drift than I've seen him get and he was just getting that over-spin."

Zampa, 27, was spanked out of the attack by India (0-50 off six overs) and the leg spinner was then dropped for the next two games before getting the green light to come back ahead of Lyon, who is the only unused Aussie in the 15-man squad.

While eyebrows were raised when Zampa bowled faster than usual against Bangladesh, Hogg said the speed gun was merely "gimmick" and should be discounted.

"That (speed) is not the question," Hogg said.

"He was getting better shape on the ball, he was getting more drop and drift and he was bamboozling the batsmen in the air.

"You could see the revolutions and he was getting more bounce. That tells me that he's getting more revolutions on that ball. You can sum up whether a bowler is bowling well or not with the extra bounce.

"Then he just got that extra turn off the pitch, which put the icing on the cake."

With just three group matches left, Australia has not guaranteed Lyon a game, although coach Justin Langer floated the idea of pairing Zampa and Lyon against South Africa at Old Trafford.

Nathan Lyon has been on the outer at the World Cup. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty
Nathan Lyon has been on the outer at the World Cup. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty

One of the semi-finals will also be played in Manchester although Langer also pointed out the quicks were dominating this tournament, and his pace battery was firing.

All-rounder Glenn Maxwell also said Zampa had bowled brilliantly against Bangladesh.

Hogg, who took more World Cup wickets than Warne (34) to sit fourth on Australia's list, said selectors got it right choosing Lyon in the 15-man squad but the rain had simply washed away his opportunities.

"I don't think Nathan Lyon is going to get a chance in the World Cup now with the way Zampa bowled (against Bangladesh)," Hogg said.

"I was surprised Nathan Lyon didn't play in front of Adam Zampa. I'm not being rude to Zamps, I just didn't think he was bowling well enough.

"Nathan Lyon is exceptionally good at maintaining one end and not letting the batsmen get on top on of him.

"He's a tighter bowler than what Adam Zampa is, but Zampa got that go and it's just bad luck for Nathan.

"That's the nature of the beast with sport, isn't it? It falls on your side of the ledger every now and then and every now and then it doesn't.

"Nathan Lyon has had a stellar career at Test level.

"Yes, he wants to play one-day international cricket, yes he wants to play a part in that World Cup, but Adam Zampa has had that position as the frontline spinner in the one-day team for a very long time."

Meanwhile Australia great Allan Border has urged coach Justin Langer to give Lyon a go.

"I've just got a little voice at the back of my head saying 'try Nathan Lyon' in a couple of these games," Border said in a column for the ICC.

"He's a wicket-taker and knows how to get people out. Test bowling is obviously different, but Lyon is a good attacking bowler and gets lots of revs on the ball.

"The mindset of players now is to really attack the opposition spinner, and it can go two ways.

"But the other side of the coin is that to win this tournament you're probably going to need to have more of an attacking mindset so that you can limit the opposition."

News Corp Australia


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