Aiden Markram: Cricket captain learns to take things in his stride as South Africa face West Indies T20 series

Aiden Markram has learnt to take things in his stride, the Proteas T20 captain told reporters in a pre-match press conference in Pretoria on Friday as he reflected on what has been a well-storied journey for him up to this point.

Markram captains the Proteas at his home ground of Centurion on Saturday when they host West Indies in the first of a three-match T20 series. It is Markram’s first series in charge. Permanently.

Apart from filling in for ODI captain Temba Bavuma in the third ODI of a drawn series against the Windies on Tuesday, Markram takes up his first full-time role as a senior national captain five years since a cruel baptism in which he was made interim captain to replace an injured Faf du Plessis during an eventual home ODI series drubbing against India in 2018.

It all began with him leading the South African U19 side to World Cup victory in 2014. Then an apparent crisis of confidence post that India series.

Then came the epiphanic moment with an inaugural SA20 league title win as captain of the Eastern Cape Sunrisers that saw him meet what many have called his destined role as captain of a senior Proteas team.

“It (captaincy) is definitely different to U19 level. I think there’s a lot more depth to it and in U19 cricket everyone just wanted to play and you just had to make sure that the team is getting on and the guys understood what their roles were. And that was as simple as it was,” Markram, who will be leading the side at his home ground on Saturday, said.

Related post

“I suppose there’s bits and pieces you can take from it, but I think the few years of being in this environment has helped. We’ve had some great leaders around us since I started, and to sponge information off them and see how they operate has also shaped the way I’m starting to think as well.

“It has been quite a while [since the India series five years ago]. I was quite fresh back then and, I think at that younger age, I can only speak for myself, I was quite hard on myself and always wanting to do well. We know in the sport, unfortunately it doesn’t always work out that way.”

There has been much talk of a new playing approach for the Proteas since new white-ball coach Rob Walter took the reins. It is one apparently less hamstrung by a fear of failure, as was implied by Heinrich Klaasen’s astonishing match-winning knock of 119* off 61 in the third ODI at a precarious moment in the Proteas’ chase of the 261 set by the Windies in Potchefstroom.

Markram seemed to apply the same philosophy to his own lessons learnt in his Proteas career thus far, while he also singled out former South African captain Faf du Plessis among his role models as he was learning the tricks of the trade.

“You have to learn to take things in your stride,” the 28-year-old said.

“I’ve said it before, try take performances and outcomes out of things and focus on the things that give you the best chance to succeed on the day, whether it works or not.

Also see

“There have been quite a few [former captains]. I think back to starting, being quite young, and being with that, pretty much, legendary team that the Proteas had at that time,” he recalled, citing his apprentice period under the likes of AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla.

“How Faf managed to marshal his troops was something that I really looked up to, and I really strive to try and become. I’ve learnt a lot from him, probably without him knowing, but just observing from the side.

“And as we go along, I suppose you connect with certain guys who speak the same language and guys that you understand better in our team.

“There’s a whole lot of leaders. I think, you saw quite a few captains in our SA20 league that are going to be of use going into the series, and not just the series, but into future series and tournaments as well.

“I look to tap into them. Definitely, there’s quite a lot of experience in those guys and, hopefully, they can help me along the way.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *