Adam Zampa a passionate vegan who has BBL rivals on the menu

5 January 2018

Melbourne Stars coach Stephen Fleming allows that young leg-spinner Adam Zampa is "a little bit more quirky than others", but warns against not taking him seriously.

"He's a deep thinker," Fleming said.

"People don't give him enough credit for how deep he thinks about the game and his development.

"He may come across a little bit flippant, but there's a deep care for getting better."

Former Indian leg-spinner-turned commentator Laxman Sivaramakrishnan noticed Zampa's mindset, too.

"Not only does he approach the wicket like Shane Warne, he can bowl and out-think batsmen like the legend as well," L.S. said as Zampa took 6-19 in only his second Indian Premier League match.

But it's not only cricket spinning between Zampa's ears.

The South Australian and Melbourne Stars wicket-taker is a passionate about veganism, just like his father, Darren, and his partner, Harriet Palmer.

"When I moved (from NSW) to South Australia I found that to live a sustainable life you don't need to eat animals or treat animals the way we do," Zampa, 25, said.

"Even with dairy, you open your eyes to what the dairy industry is like with eggs and chickens and things like that.

"I met some animals, some cows, and just thought, 'This isn't food. They're sentient beings who deserve a life as well'."

It's a lifestyle choice growing in cricket circles.

Zampa's close friend Kane Richardson (SA and Melbourne Renegades) and former teammate Nic Maddinson (NSW and Sydney Sixers) have turned vegetarian.

Former Test paceman Peter Siddle (Victoria and Adelaide Strikers) was one of the first cricketers to become a vegan.

"The landscape is changing," Zampa said.

Last summer he and Harriet helped rescue a goat.

"Harriet's mum was driving down from Darwin and this property nearby was going to get rid of this goat," Zampa said.

"So we thought we'd take it on, and it happened to be pregnant. So Harriet helped it give birth and now we've got three goats.

"It's nice to have something to concentrate on outside of cricket life."

Zampa, nicknamed Zorba because of his Maltese father's Greek looks, lost a bit of weight when he made the diet change.

Now his cupboards are stacked with beans and lentils and he has become the Big Bash League's deep thinker with a sensitive soul.

Recently, Stars teammate Kevin Pietersen put Zampa in touch with a tattoo artist. Soon they designed some tribute ink dedicated to the late Phil Hughes.

Zampa now sports a bull tattoo on his left bicep, which is surrounded by a geometric pattern connected by Zampa and Hughes' NSW, SA, one-day international and T20 statistics.

"It's a cool tattoo. I love it," Zampa said.

Zampa grew up at Warilla, a small town north of Shellharbour, NSW, and moved to South Australia for greater Sheffield Shield opportunities.

On Saturday night he will be the main threat to the Renegades' powerful batting card in the Big Bash Melbourne derby at the MCG.

While Perth Scorchers' Hilton Cartwright has been Zampa's only scalp this BBL season, he and left-arm orthodox bowler Michael Beer have kept it tighter than some teammates.

Zampa will return to Adelaide Oval when the Stars play the Strikers on Tuesday night, then join the Australian camp for the one-day series against England, again backed as the country's best white-ball spinner.

Zampa took two wickets in last year's IPL final and entered the BBL after a five-wicket Sheffield Shield haul.

Happy with his variation, he is honing his action and challenging defences with his leg-spin.

He put up his hand to bowl at the death and in power-plays for the Stars this summer, and got his chance by sending down two of the first six overs against Brisbane Heat on Tuesday.

"I'm pretty keen to improve my game, so if that means bowling the sixth over or towards the death then I'm willing to do that," Zampa said.

"I'd like to bowl any time in a game now. I think we turn a bit of a blind eye to spin bowling at the death."

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