Aiden Markram might not understand some of his more senior teammates' obsession with winning the World Cup. After all, he's been there and done that, and as a captain no less: Markram took South Africa all the way in the 2014 under-19 version of the tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
There's also no doubting his pedigree as a player. He was run out for 97 in his debut Test innings, against Bangladesh in Potchefstroom in September 2017, scored 143 in his third trip to the crease against the same opponents in Bloemfontein, and made a 60-ball 66 in his one-day debut against them the next month.
After his first 50 innings in international cricket, Markram had four Test centuries — and three efforts in the 90s — along with two ODI half-centuries. But until he starts cracking three figures in the 50-over format, questions will remain about his suitability at that level. That he has the talent is without question. But whether he has the gumption to make it work for him remains to be seen.
Tall and blessed with a sound technique, a bristling array of strokes, particularly through the off side, an attacking approach and a solid mental game, Markram is a threat to any attack.
He has been marked out as a potential future Test captain and there is every reason to take that possibility seriously, not least because he has the good sense to pay his seniors the respect they have earned while also impressing his own generation of players with his hunger and commitment.
The 2019 World Cup will be his first at senior level, and there would be no better stage on which to fulfil some of his immense potential in the one-day format by finding the form that made him South Africa's leading runscorer at the under-19 event four years previously.
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