Aiden Markram has been appointed as the stand-in captain of the Standard Bank Proteas for the remainder of the Momentum One-Day International (ODI) series against India. Markram replaces Faf du Plessis, who has been ruled out of the series due to a fractured finger.
The 23-year-old captained South Africa ‘A’ and the Multiply Titans teams this season, and also led the South Africa U19 squad to ICC U19 World Cup glory in 2014. Cricket South Africa convenor of selectors, Linda Zondi, says the appointment is in line with their plans to grow a new group of leaders within the squad.
“Part of our plans is to make sure we continue to look forward to our vision of 2019 and thereafter,” he said at SuperSport Park on Saturday. “ Part of that plan is to develop those young leaders we have identified. It is unfortunate that we have to do this because of an injury to Faf but this is an opportunity to give Aiden a run, he fits into the goals that we are trying to achieve.
“ We have identified Aiden since SA U19, and he has gone on to captain South Africa A and the Multiply Titans,” Zondi continued. “We are aware that he is new to the ODI setup, and there will be pressure, but that comes with the territory of captaining an international side. We are however confident that he has the right set of skills and temperament to lead this side successfully.”
Markram says he is honoured to be given an opportunity to captain, an area of the game he thrives on. He says he will seek advice and support from other seniors players within the squad, along with Du Plessis, who has taken him under his wing in recent months.
“It’s a big honour,” he said. “ As a little boy growing up, captaining your country is always the big dream. It’s unfortunate that Faf is missing out, it is a big loss to the side, but for the selectors to show this type of confidence in me means a lot. It is a humbling experience and we will need to go out there and do it for Faf.
“I really enjoy captaining,” he enthused. “ It’s going to be additional pressure that I have to deal with, but it is good pressure. You get good and bad types of pressures and this is a good one, hopefully I will thrive under it.
“ It can be an intimidating thing,” he said of being a young captain. “ Our culture within the team is so good that it allows a young player like myself to engage with a Hashim Amla, who is a legend of the game. This makes it a lot easier for me, I will keep the seniors players close to my side on the field. It’s going to be a positive challenge to look forward to.
“Faf has taken me under his wing since I have been involved in this environment, we have spoken a lot and this morning at practice he was next to me chatting about plans and passing on worthy advice ahead of the match tomorrow.”
The Proteas trail India 1-0 in the six-match series following the six-wicket loss in Durban on Thursday. Markram says it will be important to bounce back with an all-round improved performance in the second ODI at SuperSport Park on Sunday.
Tickets for the match have been sold out. Play is scheduled to start at 10h00 on Sunday.