JOHANNESBURG - Aiden Markram’s red hot form this season in both international and franchise cricket is poised to reach a further high point going into the climax of the 4-Day Domestic Series over the next couple of weeks.
The Proteas opening batsman was the leading runs scorer on either side in the Test series in Pakistan when he made 227 runs at an average of 56.75. This included his maiden Test century on the sub-continent, a significant achievement for any visiting player.
He has followed that with a scintillating run of form for the Titans in the four-day competition, culminating in his maiden first-class double century against the Knights last week.
It was not only an important milestone for him but also a match-saving innings that earned him a standing ovation from his opponents as he left SuperSport Park undefeated when time was called.
He potentially has two further opportunities to extend his rich run of form when the Titans cross the Jukskei River for their traditional derby fixture against the Lions followed by the probability of the competition final to be played over five days between the winners of the two pools. The Titans currently have a lead of almost 15 points in their pool.
To date Markram has 781 runs in the four-day competition for this season at an average of 97.62 with four centuries and a 50. The landmark of 1000 runs in a domestic season is a significant milestone that is well within his reach, but what makes it even more so is that he has only played in six matches (with 10 innings) to date.
This immediately raises the prospect of a comparison with the legendary Barry Richards who twice scored more than 1 000 runs in eight matches.
If Markram can also get to 1000 in the eight matches available to him he will have put down a notable landmark for the rest of his career.
Markram highlighted his recent success in Pakistan as a key moment in his career.
“I learned so much about how to build an innings under difficult circumstances and being prepared to wait for the opportunities. I have taken that forward with me in my return to franchise cricket. There were times again last week against the Knights when I just had to bat through difficult periods before picking the run rate up again.”
He also underlined how much he has benefited from batting together with new Proteas Test captain Dean Elgar both at franchise and international level.
“Dean took me under his wing when I first came into the franchise and I can’t emphasize enough the influence for good he has had on my career.”
Now he is really looking forward to the clash with the Lions.
“It is great for franchise cricket to have so many of our top players in action. Coming up against KG (Rabada) will be a huge challenge and, in fact, the Lions will be fielding what amounts to a Test match attack.
Comparison between Markram and Richards in the top level of domestic first-class cricket
BA Richards: 1971/72 season: 8 matches, 15 innings, 1089 runs, highest score 219, average 77.78, 4 centuries and 4 50s
BA Richards: 1972/73 season: 8 matches, 16 innings, 1064 runs, highest score 197, average 70.93, 4 centuries and 5 50s
AK Markram: 2020/21 season: 6 matches, 10 innings, 781 runs, highest score 204*, average 97.62, 4 centuries and 1 50.