Better than Warnie? Zampa set to smash World Cup record for Aussie spinners after career-best purple patch


Adam Zampa’s World Cup is threatening to be the greatest by an Australian spinner.

Statistically better than Shane Warne’s heroics in 1999, and challenging Brad Hogg’s efforts in Australia’s 2007 domination.

Heading into Tuesday’s match with Afghanistan in Mumbai, Zampa has been Australia’s stand-out player of the World Cup with 19 wickets at 17.15.

One wicket against Afghanistan would put Zampa level with Warne’s 1999 campaign for the most damaging by an Australian spinner at a World Cup. Two would equal Hogg’s mark.

Warne played 10 matches for his 20 wickets in England in 1999 at an average of 18.05, in a tournament regularly regarded as the yardstick for Australian players. Hogg played in 11 games in 2007 in the West Indies, taking 21 wickets at 15.8.

Shane Warne celebrates a wicket for Australia on the way to beating South Africa in the 1999 Cricket World Cup semi-final. (Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Zampa has played just seven, with his 19 wickets coming at 17.15 runs apiece. 

Making Zampa’s returns all the more impressive is that this has not been a World Cup for the spinners so far.

For all the advantages of playing on the sub-continent and the spinning wickets at grounds such as Chennai and Kolkata, the quicks have done the damage.

After India’s defeat of South Africa on Sunday night, Zampa remained the World Cup’s leading wicket-taker.

The next six are all seamers, with Ravindra Jadeja the second-best spinner with 14.

For it’s impact, no performance has bettered Zampa’s 3-21 from 10 overs against England on Saturday night.

“(That was) as satisfying as it feels after an ODI in terms of my 10 overs,” Zampa said after that match. 

“Bowling mainly to lefties, (Dawid) Malan, (Ben) Stokes, (Moeen) Ali, they’re quality players. 

“And to sit back, knowing that I went for 20 runs off 10 overs, my length control was as good as it’s been.”

There are similarities between Warne’s 1999 tournament and Zampa’s this year.

Both experienced poor build-ups, with Warne dropped from the Test team and Zampa below his best in white-ball matches.

Both started their World Cups poorly, with Warne battling in early group losses amid personal issues and Zampa hampered by hamstring issues and back spasms as he struggled to land the ball early.

But with Ashton Agar’s injury leaving only one Australian frontline spinner, Zampa has stood up to help revive his tournament with 18 wickets at 11.27 in his past five games.

“Instead of thinking about it as responsibility I said, ‘You (coaches) must think I’m pretty good if you think I can do the job by myself’,” Zampa said.

Adam Zampa celebrates the wicket of Moeen Ali. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

“I took it as a lot of confidence to be honest.”

Warne’s 1999 campaign ended with him spinning out South Africa in the tied semi-final and bamboozling Pakistan in the decider to help Australia lift the trophy.

It remains to be seen if Zampa can repeat the same heroics over the next fortnight, but a win on Tuesday night will give him and Australia the best chance of doing so.

A victory over the spin-laden Afghanistan will lock in a semi-final spot, and all but ensure they face South Africa and not hosts India in that knockout game.

Afghanistan can, however, spell trouble.

They have played up to four spinners in games during this tournament, and can go fourth and into a finals-paying position with a win.


Brad Hogg, 2007: 21 wickets at 15.8
Shane Warne, 1999: 20 wickets at 18.05
Adam Zampa, 2023: 19 wickets at 17.15
Brad Hogg, 2003: 13 wickets at 24.76
Shane Warne, 1996: 12 wickets at 21.91

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.