“Zamps, here’s the $15 off voucher at a vegan restaurant from Deliveroo. It’s a really good restaurant.” This was the whatsapp message that popped up in Adam Zampa‘s phone when he arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the recently concluded IPL season for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Called-in late as a replacement for his countryman Kane Richardson, Zampa got this message from a number he didn’t recognise. It was from Virat Kohli. This was Kohli’s way of welcoming a new player into RCB setup.
“It was the first day I arrived [and] he WhatsApped me. I didn’t have his number. He made it as if we’ve known each other forever,” Zampa said speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Zampa got to know the Kohli that is far-removed from his on-field persona. Through post-match beers and sodas in the team room, chats by the golf simulator, it was like any other player.
“He’s absolutely not what you see on the cricket field,” Zampa said. “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.
“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.
Zampa played just 3 games for the men in red and took two wickets. Talking about a new-formed friendship with Kohli, Zampa said that Kohli is just a normal human like anybody else, so it was nice for him to know the human behind the cricketer and the star.
“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.”
This friendship adds a new layer or an angle to the potential mouthwatering contest when these two face each other in the upcoming limited-overs series between India and Australia.