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Markram keen to captain Proteas Test side


Aiden Markram admits he would “give an absolute arm and leg” to captain the Proteas Test side, but right now is only focusing on getting back into the side.

CAPE TOWN – Aiden Markram admits he would “give an absolute arm and leg” to captain the Proteas Test side, but right now is only focusing on getting back into the side.

Markram played just one home Test during the last international summer after sustaining a fracture to his left ring finger while fielding during the Boxing Day Test against England at SuperSport Park. Although Markram continued to play, X-rays later revealed that he required surgery.

While Markram was on the sidelines, the Proteas underwent plenty of changes. Faf du Plessis resigned from all leadership positions in January at the conclusion of the England series, with Quinton de Kock being handed the captaincy in both white-ball (ODI and T20) formats.

Cape Cobras opener Pieter Malan also replaced Markram at the top of order, and although the 31-year-old has not been a complete revelation, Malan showed enough promise and technique to be a worthy candidate for a lengthy run in the Test side.

But despite all of this, Markram continues to be touted as one of the leading candidates to succeed Faf du Plessis as the Proteas’ next Test captain. It’s a position he’s been groomed for since leading the Junior Proteas to the ICC Under-19 World Cup championship title in Dubai back in 2014.

Markram has already led the Proteas ODI side in a home series against India, although the experiment was deemed a catastrophe with the talented rookie seemingly out of his depth aged just 23 at the time. It was not only a setback for Markram’s leadership credentials, but impacted his ability to cement a regular place in the ODI team.  

The rough initiation has, though, not dimmed Markram’s desire to lead the national team.

“I really enjoy captaincy and the responsibility that comes with it,” Markram said on Tuesday. “I have been able to watch franchise captains, and even guys like Faf (du Plessis) captain, and it is something I would love to do.

“Saying that though, I haven’t given captaining my country too much thought. It’s always been a shot in the dark for me. But now that the name is in the hat, so to speak, it’s just nice to be considered. I do really love it. I would give an absolute arm and a leg to do it. But I’ve said it before in the same breath that’s it not the be all and end all for me.

“I don’t want to become desperate about it. I would be honoured, but its one of those things if I weren’t to get it there are many other capable leaders within our environment that can take the team forward. My main focus it to get back in the side and stay on the field for some time.”

Furthermore, the timing of the hand injury could not have been worse for Markram. He had only just returned from a fractured wrist after slamming his first into a solid object due to the frustration of being dismissed for a duck against India in Pune last October.

All these mishaps over the past year has forced Markram into a self-reflective mood, particularly as he was also in the midst of a severe dip in form after initially raising the roof by being the fastest South African batsman in terms of matches (17) to score 1,000 Test runs.

“The last year, definitely, has been quite a tough year for me. But it comes with the territory, and if you want to be a top performer at a high level, then you need to find ways to deal with it. This time off has certainly been a nice time to reflect and find ways that you don’t blow it out of proportion and that you crack on with what needs to be done,” Markram said.

“I have never thought of giving up before, but I have certainly doubted myself, my abilities, the ability to perform. When you are out of form at the top level, you are a few bad knocks from being out of the team, and wanting you out of the team.

“It certainly was very frustrating to miss quite a bit of the season. But for now, I feel I am definitely 100%. The injuries have healed and subsided, which I am very grateful for. It has allowed me to work quite hard during this time off.”