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India vs South Africa: Young Aiden Markram gives hosts fresh leadership option

Aiden Markram’s appointment as South Africa’s stand-in skipper for the ODI series against India due to Faf du Plessis’ injury shows the confidence selectors have in the U-19 World Cup-winning skipper.

cricket Updated: Feb 03, 2018 21:02 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Centurion
India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India,Aiden Markram
Aiden Markram has been named as South Africa’s stand-in captain for the remaining five ODIs and three T20s against India. Regular skipper Faf du Plessis injured his finger during the first ODI in Durban.(Twitter )

Aiden Markram’s elevation to stand-in skipper signals South Africa’s move towards building a team for the 2019 World Cup. Markram, 23, the Test opener who played in only his second ODI at Durban, was asked to deputise for skipper Faf du Plessis, who was ruled out of the limited-overs series against India due to finger fracture. (INDIA vs SOUTH AFRICA FULL COVERAGE)

Markram’s rise points out how success in the Under-19 World Cup doesn’t always go waste. He led South Africa to U-19 World Cup victory in 2014. It is the only world level title won by South Africa in age-group competitions.

So, when he goes to toss with Virat Kohli on Sunday in the second ODI, two U-19 world champion captains will be on opposite sides, Kohli having won it for India in 2008.

(Read | India favourites as Quinton de Kock new injury concern for depleted South Africa)

India also have Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Kuldeep Yadav, who all have played in the U-19 World Cup while South Africa have Hashim Amla, among others.

It is success in the 2014 U-19 World Cup that has made Markram hot property, giving confidence to the selectors that he could deliver again as they prepare for the 2019 World Cup.

(Read | ‘Staying blank’ Ajinkya Rahane’s response to batting slot in India team)

“I managed to sleep, yeah. Luckily I really enjoy captaining. 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 it’s really a pressure that hopefully I can thrive on,” he said.

Markram had Faf du Plessis guiding him at the nets to tackle spin, and he feels he’ll need the skipper’s help throughout the series.

(Read | India vs South Africa: Five things Virat Kohli’s team did right in Durban win over Proteas)

“Faf’s sort of taken me under his wings since I’ve been involved in the environment. We’ve spoken a lot and this morning, throughout the training session. I’ve been almost side-by-side spending time chatting about plans, how he goes about things, and passing on some advice to take into the game. I’ll keep him close to me; he’s luckily going to be here throughout the game. I’ll keep sending messages asking for advice, asking for hints,” he said, adding that since there is plenty of experience in the team, he’ll also bank on it. Hashim Amla is a former skipper.

“Yes, it can be intimidating. 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 Amla, who’s a legend of the game. It makes it a lot easier for me. It’s not something I see as intimidating. I’ll keep Hash close to my side in the field, and obviously other experienced players as well.”

Selection committee convenor, Linda Zondi, said, “Markram has always been in our plans since he was U-19 captain, leading up to SA A, and now joining the Proteas. His awareness of the game, his confidence when making decisions is what tilted in his favour.”

First Published: Feb 03, 2018 20:46 IST