CENTURION – Having survived a bumpy plane ride up from Durban on Friday morning, there was even more reason for Aiden Markram to get nervous after landing in Johannesburg, when word reached him that he was being considered as a candidate to captain his country on Sunday.
By Saturday morning, having had a reasonable night’s sleep, that news was confirmed.
“As a little boy, you grow up wanting to captain your country one day – it’s a super humbling experience,” the 23-year-old said at SuperSport Park on Saturday.
Markram will captain the Proteas in the remaining five matches of the One-Day International series against India, in place of Faf du Plessis, who injured a finger attempting to catch Virat Kohli in Thursday’s opening match in Durban.
Markram has long been earmarked for captaincy, especially after leading the SA under-19 team to the world title in Dubai four years ago.
Nevertheless, Saturday’s news came as a surprise – not least to the man himself, given he only made his international debut earlier this summer.
“There were a few nerves this morning before training, but that’s eased out,” he said.
“It can be intimidating,” Markram said about captaining a team in his first season as an international player.
“But the culture within the team is so good, it allows for a young player to engage with a guy like Hashim Amla, who’s a legend, and that makes it a lot easier for me.
“I’ll keep Hash close to my side on the field. It’s a very new and exciting challenge, but a positive one that I’m looking forward to.”
SA's new ODI captain.Aiden Markram pic.twitter.com/M82Zl0AjVg
National selection convener Linda Zondi said the decision to appoint Markram ahead of more senior players like Hashim Amla or JP Duminy was part of the wider planning for the national team.
“Part of the plan is to look at Vision 2019… and part of that is to develop young leaders. In lieu of the post-2019 plans, Aiden fits into that too,” said Zondi.
Zondi reiterated that Markram’s appointment was solely for the ODI series against India.