Centurion: Right-handed batsman Aiden Markram has been appointed to lead South Africa in the remaining ODIs of the six-match series against India after skipper Faf Du Plessis was ruled out with a finger injury. The skipper for the T20I series is yet to be decided.
Having played just two ODIs for South Africa so far, Markram would lead the side in the absence of big names like Du Plessis and AB de Villiers, who too has suffered a finger injury and would be out of the first three matches.
Linda Zondi, South Africa’s convener of selectors said that Markram perfectly fits in their plans of developing young leaders for the 2019 World Cup.
“Part of our plan is to make sure we look at our vision 2019 and also making sure that part of our plan is to develop young leaders in view of the post-2019 plans. I think Aiden fit in,” he said.
Despite being relatively new to the senior men’s team, Markram had earlier captained the South African U-19 team to the U-19 World Cup title in 2014. He has also led local side Titans in this season.
“We are aware that Markram is new to our set-up. Part of our plan is to also build that pool of leasers within the set-up. I think Markram has always been in our plans since he was U-19 captain, leading up to SA A, and now joining the Proteas. Yes, there will be pressure in terms of him maybe understanding his role and also being able to perform as a player. For us, we want to see if he can handle pressure. Because part of leadership is to be able to adjust and perform under pressure.
“”His awareness of the game, his confidence when making decisions. To lead senior guys, it is always challenging when you are a young guy and you have to make decisions. He is the kind of guy, in our opinion, who is willing to open himself to advice. He has got that supporting structure around the team at the moment. We have got Hashim, Amla and JP [Duminy]. Guys who are going to be here. Captaincy is a special skill. You don’t just wake up one morning and become a captain. He has been there, he has done that, it is a matter of us giving him an opportunity,” Zondi further added.
Commenting on his appointment as the captain of the side, a joyful Markram said that it is like a dream come true for him and that he would be open to taking tips from the senior cricketers in the team.
“It’s a big honour. Obviously, as a little boy you grow up and you want to captain your country one day,” said the 23-year-old.
“Unfortunately for the team’s sake, Faf misses out. It’s a big loss to the side. But then the selectors showing confidence in me to take over, it means quite a bit. It’s a super humbling experience, but yes, we’re going to need to do this for Faf, I believe. What happened to Faf in Durban was a freak incident. Last night, I got the gist of it, that it was probably leading towards me to take the team forward for the rest of the series. I officially heard it first thing this morning. I think it’s something that you can’t take for granted. I really enjoy captaining, but it’s an unexpected thing,” he added.
He also said, “I’ll keep sending messages to Faf on and off the field asking for advice. I’ll definitely consult senior players for the best interest of the side.”
India currently lead the six-match series 1-0 after a thumping six-wicket win in Durban. The second ODI would be played in Centurion on February 4.