Markram humbled by SA 'A' captaincy
22-year-old Multiply Titans batsman, Aiden Markram, is relishing the opportunity to represent his country as he is set to captain the South African 'A' Four-Day team on their tour to England in June.
On Wednesday, Cricket South Africa announced the SA 'A' Four-Day and 50-over squads to tour the United Kingdom - with Markram being named in both and as captain of the Four-Day team.
"It was very unexpected obviously and it is quite a humbling thing to have happen to you, but I think it's going to be a great experience" said Markram.
Included in the mix of the Four-Day squad are test capped internationals, Dale Steyn, Temba Bavuma, Dane Piedt, Duanne Olivier and Theunis de Bruyn. Markram says he is looking forward to mingling with some of the country's best crcketers in a quest to soak up as much information as possible.
"As a young guy it is really nice to be able to learn from those types of players. I think it can fast track your career massively just from rubbing shoulders with them and asking them the right questions."
The 2016-2017 domestic season will forever be remembered as a telling one in the career of Markram, with the former Pretoria Boys' High pupil establishing himself as a regular in the Titans ranks.
"Look it's not easy to crack it in the Titans environment, but in the same breath it is also awesome to be a part of such an environment. The team culture and work ethic among all the players is as good as I have ever seen it," explained the former South African Under-19 skipper.
Markram averaged above 50 in both the Sunfoil Series and Momentum One Day Cup (MODC), placing in the top 10 on the run scorers list for both. 565 runs from 11 innings, including a pair of hundreds and fifties in the Four-Day competition were coupled with his 508 runs from nine innings with two centuries in the 50-over tournament.
His personal highlight was surprisingly not his Man-of-the-Match 161 in the MODC final against the Warriors, but rather his 162 on his Sunfoil Series debut in October 2016 against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins. The humble and level headed Markram, credits most of his success to the work of Mark Boucher and the rest of the Titans coaching staff.
"He (Boucher) has really helped my game a lot; more from a role definition and mental approach point of view. For example, being trusted to bat through the innings in One-Day cricket and to bat for time rather than set goals for how many runs you want to score in the Four-Day stuff. Since I've changed my mindset along those lines, it's sort of worked out, but as a young guy there is still a lot to learn."
The SA 'A' tour starts in May with the 50-over series, before progressing through to the Four-Day format in June. Markram knows the opportunity can bolster Protea aspirations, but he too is very aware of the need for the team to perform well as a whole.
"As much as it is a stepping stone for individuals, at the end of the day to an extent, you are still representing your country. I think if we can make that our prime goal, then the individuals will reap the rewards."