Adam Zampa, the Australia leg-spinner, has recounted his first interaction with India star Virat Kohli, where a comment made on Twitter in jest came back to haunt him.
In 2016, during Zampa’s maiden IPL campaign with Rising Pune Supergiant, he trolled Kane Richardson after the latter posted a picture on Twitter lauding Kohli and AB de Villiers. Zampa, tongue firmly in cheek, had replied saying: “who are they ??”
The Indian fans on Twitter gave him a hard time, but Zampa words truly came back to bite him next month, when he made his debut, against Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore. It was the match in which Kohli scoerd a 58-ball 108* to lead RCB to victory, and though Zampa fared well on the whole, returning 2-35, one particular memory sticks out.
“I replied [to Richardson’s post], typical, just taking the piss, ‘Who are they, mate?'” Zampa told Sydney Morning Herald. “The Indian fans did not let me live it down. Virat had obviously seen it.
“I played my debut, bowled an over to him, the last ball of the over he smacked it for four, came down to me and said, ‘Stay a long way from Twitter, mate’. Basically, pipe down.
“I was like, ‘Geezers, this bloke reads everything on Twitter’. He went on to get 120 (108*) that day. I stoked the fire.”
However, despite that intense start, the duo bonded over meat-free diets, coffee and cricket after Zampa was signed up by RCB ahead of IPL 2020, and they spent time together in the bio-secure bubble in the UAE. “It was the first day I arrived [and] he WhatsApped me,” Zamap recalled. “I didn’t have his number. He made it as if we’ve known each other forever.
“He’s absolutely not what you see on the cricket field,” Zampa says. “He always brings his intensity to training and the game; he loves competition, he hates losing as much as anyone. He probably shows it more than anyone.
Adam Zampa in his debut IPL season (2016):
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) September 28, 2020
“Once he’s off the park, he’s the most chilled guy. He’s watching YouTube clips on the bus, he’ll laugh out loud. There was a cricket clip recently from cricket.com.au, there was a funny run out, he was laughing about it for three weeks’ straight. He loves holding onto jokes like that.
“He talks about coffee, travelling, food – ‘Zamps, do you want a Beyond Meat burger?’ – because he’s a vegetarian himself. He’s a really cultured guy. He’s good to talk to, good fun.
“One night he took me aside and talked to me about his travels through Nepal. He’s always talking to me about his new coffee machine. He’s a pretty normal bloke. The one thing you take away from spending time with those guys is they’re as much of a human being as you are.”
Kohli and Zampa will face each other during the upcoming India-Australia series.