Markram overjoyed by first year on international stage

Standard Bank Proteas batsman Aiden Markram

Standard Bank Proteas batsman Aiden Markram

Aiden Markram picked beating Australia this past season as his highlight of the season after he was named the International Newcomer of the Year at the Cricket South Africa (CSA) awards function this past weekend.

The 23-year-old scored exactly 1 000 runs in his maiden Test season, batting at an average of 55.55.

In the series named as his highlight, the young opener recorded two of his four centuries to date as well as a half-century. He has a total of four tons to date to go with three 50s.

“It was definitely beating the Australians,” he responded when asked about his best moments thus far. “It was a very eventful series, a very heated series, so it was nice to have gotten over them. It was brilliant to have been able to be part of this great series.”

Another stand-out moment was undoubtedly the awarding of the Standard Bank Proteas one-day international team captaincy at the tender age of 23.

Markram was thrust into the hot seat after a mid-series injury to Faf du Plessis against India, a tough ask for the young man as the hosts ended up heavily beaten.

“I learnt a lot in that month, probably the most I’ve learnt in my whole career,” he said. “You get given the captaincy and you have to sort of make a plan and try to do well.

“But I enjoyed the challenge and there’s probably a few things I would change if I could go back in time. Overall, I enjoyed it and relished the pressure. I was grateful for the opportunity.”

Markram’s stature in the world game has continued to grow since his debut against Bangladesh last October. He has already risen to eighth on the ICC batting rankings after only 10 Tests.

The youngster conceded that he did not expect to have such a blockbuster season and thanked opening partner Dean Elgar for playing a key role in his rise. He added: “There’s no way that I expected the season to turn out the way it did. But I'm really grateful to have the first season go the way it did.

“At the end of the day, it’s the responsibility of an opening batter to try and get his team off to a good start.

“A lot of credit must go to Dean (Elgar) for helping me settle into the spot. But there’s a lot of learning still taking place and I'm really fortunate how things panned out.”