Having suffered a huge setback due to regular skipper Faf du Plessis' injury, the Cricket South Africa on Saturday named 23-year-old batsman Aiden Markram as skipper for the remainder of the five-match ODI series against India. Du Plessis fractured his right index finger during the first ODI in Durban that India won by six-wicket despite his century.
Markram has only featured in two ODIs so far, making his debut against Bangladesh in October 2017. He has also played 6 Tests. He led South Africa to Under-19 World Cup triumph in 2014 and has been widely regarded as a future captain. However, Du Plessis' unfortunate injury prompted selectors to fast-track Markram to the hot-seat.
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"It wasn't a hard decision. Rather, it was an easy decision. If AB de Villiers was around, and other senior players as well, we would have probably looked at different options," said Linda Zondi, convenor, and head of the Cricket South Africa selection panel.
"But at the moment, with both our former captains not around, it was an ideal opportunity for us that here is Markram, let's see what he can offer. We are confident. He wants to do it as well. It just gives us an opportunity to open it up and see what he can offer," Zondi added.
"We are aware that Markram is new to our set-up. Part of our Vision 2019 plan is to build a pool of leaders within the set-up. I think Markram has always been in our plans since he was Under-19 captain, leading up to South Africa A, and now joining the Proteas," the convenor further added.
He admitted that Markram will be under a lot of pressure.
"It has been a journey. Yes, there will be pressure in terms of understanding his role and also being able to perform as a player. For us, we want to see if he can handle pressure because part of leadership is to be able to adjust and perform under pressure. We hope he has the right skill and the right capability to do so," he added.
There has been no announcement on the captain for the ensuing three T20Is series though. Du Plessis is ruled out for that contest as well.
"At the moment, we don't want to make any commitment. I think our primary focus, for now, is this ODI series. We do have a captain in Faf. Markram is going to be stand-in captain for the remaining ODIs," Zondi concluded.
(With PTI Inputs)