Aiden Markram scored two hundreds and two fifties in last season's Sunfoil Series. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Aiden Markram has been named as Titans captain for the Sunfoil Series, replacing Henry Davids, who elected to stand down after five seasons in charge of the four-day side.

Markram enjoyed a breakthrough first-class debut season in 2016/17, having amassed 565 runs at an average of 51.36, including two centuries and two fifties.

The 22-year-old, who scored a match-winning 161 in the Momentum One-Day Cup final in March, will also serve as vice-captain for both limited-over competitions, under current captain Albie Morkel.  

Markram has previous captaincy experience, having led the South Africa Under-19s to World Cup glory in 2014.

Most recently, he skippered the South Africa A four-day side against the England Lions in June, before leading the side against India A in last month’s two-match home series.

The opening batsman says he is looking forward to the challenge of his maiden season in charge.

“It’s a massive honour for me as a young player to lead the quality players that are amongst the Titans squad.

“There’s plenty of experienced players in the changing room, so I will try and absorb as much information from them as possible to ensure the team goes in the right direction.

“Henry was brilliant in what he did – he’s a great leader, and there are a few attributes I will look to take from him.

“I am young and I will make mistakes, but as long as I can keep experienced players close to me, I believe that I will make enough right decisions.”

Markram has experienced a whirlwind past 12 months, which culminated in his call-up to the South African Test squad against England during the winter months, but says his thoughts are focused on the Titans.

“I will always have the team’s interest at heart and as long as the team does well, I will be happy. The goal will be to win the Sunfoil Series.

“We missed out on it last year and if I look at the cricket we played, I think we have more in the tank, and I believe if we play to our potential as a side, we will be challenging for the trophy.”

Titans head coach Mark Boucher believes Markram is a natural fit to lead the domestic team in the longer format and expects him to draw on his past experiences as captain.

“He’s got a background of being a leader, and I believe Aiden has all the right attributes to take the Titans forward into the new season. Certain cricketers play better when they are leaders, and I believe Aiden is one of those players.

“He is well respected, both as a cricketer and as an individual. You look around the changing room and there are seven or eight players who are the future of the Titans, and he’s the guy who will be the leader – he understands everyone in the team, which is very important.

“Henry has been fantastic as captain and a great player for the Titans over the years. He understands that it is time for new ideas and that there is now a chance for the younger guys to push through.

“He’s still got a massive role to play, being a past captain he will understand the pressures of captaincy, and he will certainly guide Aiden along,” concluded Boucher.

Titans Squad
Aiden Markram (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, Tony de Zorzi, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Morné Morkel, Alfred Mothoa, Rowan Richards, Tabraiz Shamsi, Malusi Siboto, Jonathan Vandiar.

African News Agency (ANA)