Leg-spinner Adam Zampa is all set to be recalled to Australia’s first eleven for the ODI tri-series final, with coach Justin Langer concerned over his bowling attack as he admits the bowling department lacked variety during their win against West Indies this week.
Having scalped nine wickets in four matches in this series, it was quite surprising to see Zampa left out of the team for Australia’s two important matches in Barbados, a washed-out game against South Africa and a six-wicket win over the Windies.
Langer, however, tries to justify the decision. He said the inclement weather and resultant slippery ball went against the leggie for the Proteas match, but why the 24-year-old was left out again in perfect conditions for the match against West Indies.
Australia’s caretaker coach claimed the threat of in-form Marlon Samuels, who smashed Zampa for three sixes in his match-winning knock of 92 in St Kitts last week, played a vital role to take the decision.
After seeing through the West Indies vs South Africa match, the Aussie team management has started their work, chalking out the final plan.
“Probably, on the surface, we lacked a bit of variation (against the Windies), we looked quite samey. But that’s OK.
“It was good to play the game on that wicket, now it gives us the best opportunity to pick the best XI for the final.
“(The identity of our opponent) will come into it too, no doubt. That’s why it’ll be interesting to see what the result of today is.
“It’s nice to have that luxury to be in the final and to get a bit more information tonight about our opposition and the environment. Then we can make a decision from there.”
But Zampa could face a stiff challenge as Australia are looking to have as many options as possible regarding the bowling in final 15 overs of the innings, an area where they impressed against the Windies.
Rookie paceman Scott Boland, the man most likely to be left out if Zampa is recalled for the final, took 2-37 from five death overs in the last match to help restrict the Windies to a chasable total of 8-282 after a target of more than 300 seemed likely.
Countering this point, one must remember, Australia’s lack of penetration in the middle overs, when Samuels and Denesh Ramdin set a record 193-run partnership and part-time spinners Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch bowled just five overs between them.
“It’s so hard. In a perfect world you always want a good death bowler,” Langer said.
“But we’ve got good options there as well. Because of the way the game went, we didn’t bowl Mitchell Starc at the very end either. That was just Smithy being his normal aggressive self, which I love about his captaincy.
“There’s always these issues of selection. You want the perfect XI but I’m not sure you ever get the perfect line-up.
“But … after playing the games we’ve played and got a feel for the conditions here, we’ve got a better idea.”
No matter what team Langer and Hohns choose, the interim coach believes his young guns will once again respond well to the pressure of another win-or-bust scenario.