Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Markram warns Proteas will have to ‘be sharp’ against West Indies

Markram will lead the SA T20 team for the first time since taking over the captaincy earlier this month.

They might not be the dominant force in global cricket they once were, but Proteas captain Aiden Markram says his team are not underestimating how dangerous the West Indies can be in T20 cricket as they gear up for a three-match series starting against the tourists in Centurion on Saturday (2pm start).

After beating West Indies 2-0 in their recent Test series, and drawing 1-1 in the ODI series without some key Proteas stars, the hosts will be confident of winning the T20 series following the return of a handful of experienced players.

But West Indies are two-time T20 world champions and the hosts won’t have it all their own way over the next few days.

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“I think it’s going to be an exciting series. They have a fantastic white-ball team, especially in the T20 arena where we’ve seen them win World Cups, and they have a big amount of X-factor in their squad,” Markram said yesterday.

“So we’re looking forward to it and it’s a great team for us to be able to test ourselves against and see where we are at the moment as a T20 side.

“We’re going to have to be sharp against them, there’s no doubt about that.”

‘More depth to it’

Though he previously captained the national U-19 side, Markram admitted there was more pressure to lead a senior team, as he prepared to take charge of the T20 squad for the first time since taking over from former skipper Temba Bavuma earlier this month.

“It is definitely different to U-19 level. I think there’s a lot more depth to it here than U-19 cricket when everyone just wanted to play and you just had to ensure the team was getting along and the guys understood their roles. That’s pretty much as simple as it was,” Markram said.

“I suppose there are bits and pieces you can take from that, but I think a few years of being in this environment has helped. We’ve had some great leaders around us since I started (playing for the national senior side) and I’ve been able to sponge information off them and see how they operate, so that has shaped the way I’m starting to think.”

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