Home Sport Cricket ‘A successful Aiden Markram is good for the Proteas,’ says Proteas coach

‘A successful Aiden Markram is good for the Proteas,’ says Proteas coach

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With captain Temba Bavuma ruled out of the England tour due to an injured elbow, the door has once again been left ajar for Aiden Markram to show he truly belongs in international cricket.

South Africa's Aiden Markram in action
FILE – South Africa’s Aiden Markram in action. Picture: Indranil Mukherjee, AFP

Cape Town – There are many awkward questions that the Proteas’ selectors will mull over the next week building up to the ODI series against England next week.

A couple of warm-up matches against the England Lions team – effectively England ‘A’ – may help clear some of the clouds, but the big conundrum is, of course, what to do with golden boys when they have lost their Midas touch.

In the case of the Proteas, Aiden Markram is, of course, the elephant in the room. The 27-year-old has been part of Proteas’ future plans ever since he was teenager when he became the first – and still only – South African captain to win the Under-19 World Cup.

The stars shone so bright that it even led to him being handed the senior Proteas ODI armband after playing just two matches back in 2018.

But it seems to have all come too quickly for Markram who now stands at the crossroads of his international career. He has developed into one of the finest T20 batters in the world, but it’s the longer formats – both Test and ODI – that he’s yet to find a formula that consistently works for him.

His last ODI innings was a three-ball duck against Bangladesh at SuperSport Park back in March that thankfully closed off a miserable 2021/22 international season.

But with captain Temba Bavuma ruled out of the England tour due to an injured elbow, the door has once again been left ajar for Markram, who has recovered from Covid-19 that forced him to return home early from the Indian tour, to show that he belongs on every Proteas team sheet across formats.

“He’s played a lot of cricket, so I think everything (Covid-19) happens for a reason. Obviously he didn’t play in India and came home, so he had a good bit of time to go back and just reflect on what’s been a long season,” Proteas coach Mark Boucher told reporters upon arrival in England on Monday.

“I’ve had a chat with him. He’s worked on a couple of things, so I’ve got no doubt that he’s itching to get out there and to try and score some runs for the Proteas. A successful Aiden Markram is good for the Proteas set up.”

Markram could face stiff opposition for Bavuma’s place in the top-order, though, from the likes of Reeza Hendricks and also Khaya Zondo. Hendricks was superb at No.3 in the CSA One-Day Cup final where he struck 157 from 136 balls against the Titans to spearhead the Lions’ charge to the title.

Furthermore, Markram (27.24) just shades Hendricks (25.68) in their overall career averages and the eventual decision could be made in terms of the overall balance of the team.

Boucher indicated form in the warm-up games this week could be a deciding factor.

“We’’ve got quite a few different options for these games that we’re going to be playing now in the next couple of days. It will give us a good indication of where those players are as individuals,” he said.

“But I mean, I think we’ve sort of got a good idea barring maybe one or two extra batters who our front line-up is going to be. So we’ll just have to see how a bit of form plays itself out. And hopefully, you know, hopefully we get the proper headache of having everyone among the runs.”

@ZaahierAdams

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