India vs South Africa: Stand-in skipper Aiden Markram describes leading Proteas as 'good pressure'

The national team's captaincy has come his way quite early and in an unusual manner, but Aiden Markram looks all prepared to deal with the "good pressure" by taking along the seniors in the side.

PTI, February 03, 2018

Durban: The national team's captaincy has come his way quite early and in an unusual manner, but Aiden Markram looks all prepared to deal with the "good pressure" by taking along the seniors in the side.

In a shocking move, the 23-year-old batsman was named captain for the remaining five ODIs against India owing to Faf du Plessis' withdrawal due to a finger injury.

"It's a big honour. 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," said Markram on the eve of the second ODI.

File image of Aiden Markram. Image credit: Twitter/@OfficialCSA

File image of Aiden Markram. Image credit: Twitter/@OfficialCSA

"I think it's something that you can't take for granted. I really enjoy captaining but it's an unexpected thing. Like I said it was a freak incident with Faf and this has all just happened so quickly," he said.

"I managed to sleep, yeah," he added, laughing.

"It's going to be an additional pressure to deal with but I believe it's a good pressure. You get good and bad sort of pressures, and for me its really a pressure that hopefully I can thrive on."

The pitch at Supersport Park looks an ODI batting beauty and the spinners will come into play again. Markram said that he might look to make some changes.

"Generally it's a good wicket at the SuperSport Park. We're going to look more in depth at it this afternoon and then tomorrow morning and then make a decision. The decision will be made completely on what will benefit our side, and not on how India play.

"I believe there are quality batsmen in our middle order and it's just about taking responsibility. Obviously we've had to adjust our game plans just a touch going into this game, but it wasn't addressing any sort of problem I don't think," he added, about facing the Indian wrist-spinners.

Talking about possible batting changes, the skipper said, "Hashim Amla has been so good at the top of the order for us. He just provides that calmness and hits good cricket shots when the field is up, so hes a massive asset up at the top for us. I don't think there is any need to adjust the batting line-up per se. I just think players need to develop some nice and strong game plans.

"I think it would make sense for myself to go up to three.

I've spent most of my career opening the batting. From No 3 we're not 100 per cent sure of the side just yet. That selection meeting still needs to take place.

"But yeah, it would make sense for me to go up to No 3. From there onward, there's plenty of experience in JP Duminy and David Miller. So we'll organise and go according to how the game dictates tomorrow," he added.

Du Plessis had ruled out the possibility of South Africa fielding two spinners (Tabraiz Shamsi with Imran Tahir).

When asked about his thoughts on the issue, Markram replied, "Even if we watch how Shamsi has been operating in training today and his form coming into the ODI series, hes been top drawer. And he really is putting his hand up for selection.

"Its a temptation of course, especially watching how their bowlers have bowled. But like you said, its different conditions in Durban to what it is in the Highveld. Its something to talk about for sure," added Markram.

The key for the young captain will be handling the pressure of a mighty opponent in India, as well as managing former captains and senior players on the field.

Markram said that he had taken enough tips from du Plessis and will be looking up to Amla for further support.

"Faf's sort of taken me under his wings since I've been involved in the environment. I'll keep sending messages on and off the field, asking for advice, asking for any hints. But at the end of the day, its going to be my decision to make on the field though.

"Fortunately, there's plenty of experience within the squad and it won't be a decision made just by myself. Ill definitely consult the senior players, obviously for the better interest of the side as well," added the Titans cricketer.

"Yes it can be an intimidating thing (handling seniors). But the culture in the team is so good it allows for a young player like myself to go and engage with a guy like Hashim, whos a legend of the game. It makes it a lot easier for me, its not something I see as intimidating.

Updated Date: Feb 03, 2018


Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
14 9 5 0 18
13 8 5 0 16
14 8 6 0 16
14 7 7 0 14
13 6 7 0 12
14 6 8 0 12
13 6 7 0 12
13 4 9 0 8

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3499 125
2 South Africa 3589 112
3 Australia 3499 106
4 New Zealand 2354 102
5 England 3511 98
6 Sri Lanka 2914 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5257 125
2 India 5492 122
3 South Africa 3842 113
4 New Zealand 4602 112
5 Australia 3327 104
6 Pakistan 3279 102
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 2990 130
2 Australia 1894 126
3 India 3932 123
4 New Zealand 2542 116
5 England 1951 115
6 South Africa 2058 114