Intensity the key for young South Africa opener Aiden Markram | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Intensity the key for young South Africa opener Aiden Markram

Aiden Markram does not want to lose his intensity after an impressive start to his Test cricket career with South Africa

cricket Updated: Jan 11, 2018 23:31 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Aiden Markram has impressed for South Africa since making his debut last year.
Aiden Markram has impressed for South Africa since making his debut last year.(AFP)

Local boy Aiden Markram had scores of 97, 15, 143 and 125 in his first two Tests against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, but playing India was ‘a massive step-up’ for the opener who had scores of 5 and 34 in the first Test in Cape Town.

“It was a massive step up. There’s a reason why they are the No 1 team in the world - they have quality players in all departments. They tick all the boxes and they have come here to compete, which is great. For me as a young guy, it is awesome,” Markram, 23, said at a media interaction here on Thursday.

Seaming conditions might have led to his early dismissal in the first innings but Markram batted better in the second innings before the team imploded, dismissed for 130. “You have a game plan according to the wicket, and you might have to adapt on certain pitches. I didn’t want to lose the intensity that I bat with; it’s something I keep close to me (as) a gauge often. I generally feel when I’m batting at the right intensity, I move a bit better and my positions are stronger; that’s something I challenge myself to achieve. It starts in training. Luckily we have a great attack to face and it’s never easy.”

Senior partner

Having fellow Titans player Dean Elgar as opening partner helps. “He’s very experienced now in Test cricket. He helps to calm me down a bit,” he said.

Both teams have just two days of practice going into the second Test (starts on Saturday), but Markram feels it’s more about keeping the mind fresh than training long. “There aren’t many days to prepare in between but I don’t think there is a lot to change for the next Test. For both sides, it’s just about making sure you’re nice and fresh. It’s quite an exhilarating event, the first Test - very up and down. So, it’s about making sure the mind is fresh and being ready to go into battle,” he said.

Sporting pitch

Asked how the pitch might behave, Markram said batsmen will like it because of consistent carry, but it will still be hostile for batsmen to an extent. “Generally it’s a good batting wicket here. How they have prepared it, I’m not too sure -- I haven’t had a look at it yet. But there are a lot of high scores here. I’d like to think it will be good, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to prepare similar to last week, maybe not as extreme,” he said.

With Dale Steyn injured, all eyes will be on whether young Kagiso Rabada spearheads the South Africa bowling. Having played U-19 cricket with him, Markram is happy Rabada has become the No 1-ranked Test bowler. “KG has fitted like duck to water in international cricket. He’s put his hand up for the side and he almost sees his role as a senior though he is so young. He’s adopted a great mindset.

“He’s obviously a very competitive guy. He’s got a lot of X-factor about him. And what’s lovely is he likes to compete with batters -- he never likes a batter to get up on him. It’s a great trait for him to have. I’m really happy he’s got to No 1. He puts in a lot of hard work like all the bowlers do.”