Standard Bank Proteas batsman, Aiden Markram has said the team is mentally ready to face the challenges that come with touring in India as they continue their preparation for their three-match Test series starting on 02 October 2019 in Visakhapatnam. Before that highly anticipated fixture however, South Africa will play a three-day warm-up match against an invitational XI starting tomorrow in Vijayanagaram.
Speaking after the team’s rained out practice on Wednesday, the 24-year-old opening batsman admitted that, while there may be some players who carry scars from their previous tour to the subcontinent nation, the language and mindset in the changeroom is about playing positively, finding a way to overcome their situations and not to dwell on the difficulty of the conditions.
He said; “I remember watching that series a few years ago and it looked incredibly difficult. And I’m sure there’s a bit of baggage that certain players that were on that tour might still be carrying but that’s completely fine. I think it’s never an easy tour coming to anywhere in the subcontinent, let alone India. It’s full of challenges, but if we can conquer those challenges it will be really rewarding. The guys are positive and upbeat and we’re maintaining a really good language in the changeroom, a really strong language. At the end of the day, we’re not gonna harp on about conditions, we pretty much know what to expect and we just need to get the job done.”
Markram joined the Test squad after scoring a fine, 161 in the second of two four-day matches for the South Africa “A” team against their Indian counterparts in Mysore. The match ended in a draw, but the series was won 1-0 by India “A” after winning their first encounter by seven wickets. Markram admitted that while it was nice to get some runs under his belt, he was fully aware that they would not be likely to receive wickets close to those they played on during the “A” tour.
“It was nice. From a personal perspective, it was nice to spend time out in the middle. I think the wickets we get (in the Proteas tour of India) will be a lot different to the wickets we got in the “A” series,” he explained. “But like I said, it’s nice to spend time out there, and in the field as well, it was nice for us as fielders to be on our feet for long periods of time and for our bowlers to bowl plenty of spells in these hot conditions. I took a lot from the “A” side games and I’m ready to go in the Test matches.
“It’s always nice to be back in the Proteas environment. We had a good few weeks with the A-side and played some good cricket here and there, but like I said, it’s good to be back in the environment and looking forward to the Test series.
“There’s always a couple of positives from spending time at the crease, I’m trying to nit-pick at those positives and take as much as I can from those knocks. Preparation going into this series is gonna be massive and each little bit that we can take going into the series will help.”
On returning to a Test squad that has seen a lot of changes in recent times with a new-look team structure, coaching staff and group of youngsters, Markram commented on how invigorating the changes have been for the team environment.
“It’s nice to be back in the camp. There’s a lot of new faces and it’s exciting times with the change of staff and quite a few new players as well,” he continued. “There’s lots of new and refreshing energy in the camp and the guys look to be in good spirits so we’re looking forward to the series.”
Standard Bank Test squad: Faf du Plessis (Multiply Titans, capt), Temba Bavuma (Imperial Lions, vice-capt), Theunis de Bruyn (Multiply Titans), Quinton de Kock (Multiply Titans), Dean Elgar (Multiply Titans), Zubayr Hamza (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Multiply Titans), Senuran Muthusamy (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Warriors), Vernon Philander (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Dane Piedt (World Sports Betting Cape Cobras), Kagiso Rabada (Imperial Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Multiply Titans).