Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Batsman Aiden Markram has been handed the captaincy for the rest of the ODI series against India.
Markram was bestowed with the leadership role after regular skipper Faf du Plessis was ruled out of the remainder of the ODI series and the Twenty20 that follows due to a fractured right index finger.
Du Plessis sustained the injury during the first ODI, which India won by six wickets, even though he scored a sensational 120.
Markram admitted that captaining South Africa is a dream come true, but admitted that the Proteas will sorely miss Du Plessis.
“It’s a big honour,” he was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “Obviously as a little boy you grow up and you want to captain your country one day. Unfortunately for the team’s sake, Faf misses out. It’s a big loss to the side. But then 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.
Markram heard he was among the contenders for the position on Friday night. After acknowledging that he was willing to replace Du Plessis, it was confirmed on Monday morning.
“I managed to sleep, yeah,” he said. “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.”
When asked how it feels to be leading a team with numerous senior players, including Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock, the 23-year-old said: “Yes, it can be an intimidating thing. 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. It’s going to be something very exciting, it’s going to be a new challenge. But it’s a positive challenge to look forward to.”
Since Markram has captained South Africa’s Under-19 and A team in the past, convener of selectors Linda Zondi admitted that he was the perfect candidate for the job.
“We are aware that Markram is new to our set-up,” Zondi said. “Part of our plan is to also build that pool of leaders within the set-up. I think Markram has always been in our plans since he was U-19 captain, leading up to SA A, and now joining the Proteas.
“Yes, there will be pressure in terms of him maybe understanding his role and also being able to perform as a player. For us, we want to see if he can handle pressure, because part of leadership is to be able to adjust and perform under pressure. We think he has the right skill and the right capability to do so.
“Part of our plan is to make sure we look at our Vision 2019 and also making sure that part of our plan is to develop young leaders in view of the post-2019 plans. I think Aiden fits in.”
South Africa will be aiming to level the series at 1-1 when they face India in the second ODI in Centurion on Sunday.