Known as a connoisseur of whisky and a vegan devotee, Adam Zampa would rather people focus on his leg-spin box of tricks when Australia tackle New Zealand in Sunday’s T20 World Cup final.
Australia, who have won the 50-over World Cup on a record five occasions, have never triumphed in the final of the sport’s shortest format in six attempts. But the baby-faced Zampa, who stands at just 1.75m (5ft 7ins), is increasingly being tipped as the man to end Australia’s drought.
The 29-year-old wrist spinner is the tournament’s second highest wicket taker. His 12 victims in six games have come at an average of 10.91 and an impressive economy rate of just 5.69.
Only Sri Lanka leg spinner Wanindu Hasaranga can boast better figures with 16 wickets in eight matches at a 9.75 average and 5.20 economy rate.
Zampa played a crucial role in the semi-final win over Pakistan, dismissing in-form skipper Babar Azam in figures of 1-22 in his four overs. He had already claimed a career-best 5-19 in the group win over Bangladesh.
“I’ve always been underestimated,” said Zampa who admits to feeding off his relatively low-key status.
“Even as a 15 or 16-year-old growing up in the country, there was always a city guy that’s better than me or there’s always been someone that turns their leg-spinner more than I do. Even after this tournament, there’ll be another series that comes up and I’ll be underestimated again. I thrive off that.”
Zampa may have arrived at the World Cup under the radar compared to the likes of high-profile David Warner, Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc, but he is his own man.
On Australia’s limited overs tour of England last year, he helped teammates through the rigours of bio-bubble life by passing on his fondness for whisky.
“We have a whisky club. At night people will bring different bottles. Some like Japanese. I like Scottish Highlands,” Zampa told the BBC. “Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc have started to enjoy it and a few other guys are starting to dabble.”
Zampa even has a tattoo of a whisky bottle on his wrist.
He has also adopted a vegan diet, once appearing in advertising for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
“I’m not vegan to help my performance,” he told the BBC. “I did it because I care about animals and the environment. It’s really easy for me because I’m passionate about it.”
Zampa also has a passion for on-off hairstyles. In the West Indies this year, he shaved off his blond locks.
It was the second time in his life that he had taken such drastic action. The first close shave was when he was eight.
“When I was eight years old I went through a little phase of changing my hair colour,” he recalled.
“I actually had red hair, went in the pool, it went pink and I cried until my mum shaved it off.”