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Markram adjusting to new role in T20s

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Aiden Markram is happy to adapt to a new role for South Africa’s T20 side even if that means it doesn’t allow him to ‘get his eye in’.

South Africa’s Aiden Markram
South Africa’s Aiden Markram. File Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Aiden Markram is happy to adapt to a new role for South Africa’s T20 side even if that means it doesn’t allow him to ‘get his eye in,’ at the crease.

With Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Janneman Malan, Reeza Hendricks and Markram in the Proteas T20 squad, South Africa possess a lot of openers, but few options for the middle order, particularly a player, who can propel the ball to and over the boundary.

In addition that player needs to do so as soon as he gets to the crease. Even the Proteas’ ‘finisher’ David Miller needs few deliveries to ‘get his eye in.’ The lack of options in the middle has led to Markram being asked to make some adjustments.

“I’ve spoken to Temba (Bavuma) and the coach about potential roles they are giving me a chance in and ultimately I’m happy to give any role a go, obviously requiring the best for the team and also needing to get the job done. We are experimenting with a few roles at the moment which is not a bad thing with so many top order batters in the squad as well,” Markram said on Wednesday.

South Africa face Ireland in the second T20 International at the Civil Service Cricket Club, situated on the Stormont Estate in Belfast, which is also the seat of government for Northern Ireland.

The Proteas won the first match in the series by 33 runs in Dublin on Monday.

Markram batted at No.4 in that encounter and scored 39 off 30 balls. The 26 year-old is gradually being viewed as an important player in the T20 side, with his off-spin providing an important extra option for Bavuma.

His batting remains his primary job and he’s been shifted out of the opening berth as the brainstrust try and fill the middle order spot, that would have been AB de Villiers’s but is now vacant after he confirmed he was definitely retired from international cricket.

“I need to put a lot of work into the power hitting side of things, and potentially go to that having not faced a lot of balls. It’s an adjustment and something we are putting a lot of time into,” he said.

The shift for Markram is less a physical one – he hits the ball hard naturally – more a mental one. No longer can he fiddle about in the nets and ‘get a feel for conditions.’ “It’s about walking into a net session and potentially from ball one being aware that I must pull the trigger.

There is no feeling your way around, you have to go into a net session with a lot of intensity and always look for a boundary and if it’s not there to get one or hit into space for two.”

Markram made a career best 70, batting at No.3 in the last T20 International against the West Indies, but on that occasion he came to the crease after Bavuma was dismissed in the first over. In fact, batting at 4 as he has done in three of his last four matches for the Proteas, Markram has come to the crease inside the Power Play. So as yet he’s not been forced to test what he’s been training.

Thursday’s match starts at 5pm (SA time).

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