Aiden Markram’s long-awaited return to form

Aiden Markram was seen as the future South African captain when he struck 97 in his debut test innings. However, his career had gone off track over the last three years.

Markram backed his brilliant performance in his debut test with a century in his next test match against Bangladesh and followed it up with another century against Zimbabwe at Port Elizabeth in December 2017.

When he scored a brilliant 94 against India at Centurion in January 2018, he certainly looked in a league of his own. However, after 143 against Australia at Durban in March 2018 and 152 against Australia in Johannesburg in the same series, runs from his bat dried up.

Markram had a particularly torrid time in Asia and his test average dipped below 40. However, Markram showed great composure and technique in the test series against Pakistan and turned out to be a cut above all South African batsmen.

Markram shone in the second South African innings in both the test matches when the pitch was at its toughest. While he scored 74 in the first innings, the opener struck 108 in the final innings of the last test match on a wearing pitch in Rawalpindi to shrug off claims of his dodgy technique against spin bowling, specially in the subcontinent.

“We are competitive people so to lose a game and a series, means more than personal performances. There is a lot more hurt than satisfaction from my side,” a visibly upset Markram said after South Africa’s 95-run loss in Rawalpindi in the 2nd test. “It felt like there were stages where just when we started making progress and getting ahead, we would give it away. That’s where the hurt comes from. It’s time for us to take lessons and learn and to not make the same mistakes again.”

With Faf du Plessis having retired from test cricket and Quinton de Kock not keen on continuing in the role of captain, Aiden Markram is one of the potential captaincy choices for South Africa if he can maintain his form.

“I haven’t given captaincy too much thought. I don’t think, with four Test matches this season, it allows a player to all of a sudden think along those lines. It’s something I would naturally enjoy doing but nothing I have given too much time to,” Markram said. “My goal is ultimately to score runs and win games. That’s still the focus for me.”

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