Ken Borland

By Ken Borland


WATCH: Markram talks T20 series against Ireland, competition among batters

'We were told where we stand, we understand where the selection is coming from and why they did it. These things happen when you’re building towards a World Cup.'

There were many who believed Aiden Markram would be in charge of the Proteas by now, but even though the product of Cornwall Hill College in Centurion admitted on Tuesday that “I have not got it all worked out yet”, he is clearly becoming one of the key generals in the South African white-ball team.

That side will be in action again on Wednesday evening as they take on Ireland in the first of two T20 matches in Bristol.

It will be interesting to see what XI the Proteas field because they have often experimented against the Irish in the past. Paceman Kagiso Rabada has been ruled out of both games with an ankle injury.

But they are fresh off a 2-1 series win over mighty England in which they fielded a few players who may have been thought of as fringe members of the squad that is being built for the T20 World Cup in October.

Read more: Shamsi, Stubbs star as Proteas beat England in third T20 match to take series

Markram, although he is their highest-ranked T20 batsman, was one of the ones to sit out, but it says something of his standing in the team that he was given a full explanation of the reasons why it was done. He returned for the deciding match against England and scored a brisk 51 not out off 36 balls as the Proteas batted their hosts out of the contest. Markram also fulfilled the vital sixth bowler role.

“Not playing in India was incredibly frustrating, but it’s one of those things even though it’s strange to get Covid these days,” Markram said.

“But here in England, the communication has been really good from the coach, the management team and captain David Miller. We were told where we stand, we understand where the selection is coming from and why they did it.

“These things happen when you’re building towards a World Cup, you have to give everyone a fair opportunity. Rassie van der Dussen and I understood why we were sitting out.

“The communication made it a lot easier. We’re on a journey to the World Cup so we understand why we try things and different options. If it doesn’t work, then rather get it wrong now than at the World Cup,” Markram said.

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The 27-year-old has been one of the most dominant batsmen at SuperSport Park in Centurion, which is one of the smaller grounds in South Africa but still bigger than the ground in Bristol.

Arrange plans

England had the Proteas in disarray in the first T20 in Bristol last week but, as they arrange their plans for the World Cup, being able to perform on smaller grounds is one of the things they need to sort out.

Read more: Some consolation for Stubbs, as Proteas are hammered in T20 clash

“We’re maybe a team that’s better on slower pitches and bigger fields, we’ve played some of our best cricket in tougher conditions,” Markram said.

“But we definitely want to get better at smaller venues where the margin for error is a lot smaller. We’re going to try and nail that because we want to keep growing as a team.”

*Play starts at 7.30pm

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