CAPE TOWN - Proteas opener Dean Elgar has backed his young partner Aiden Markram to put aside his recent troubles against India and bounce back in the Australian Test series starting on Thursday at Kingsmead.
Markram, who is still only 23, has enjoyed a stellar start to his Test career, having already struck two centuries and two fifties in just six matches. Such was the composure he showed at the highest level that the national selectors and Proteas team management handed the rookie the captaincy for the ill-fated ODI series against India when regular skipper Faf du Plessis was ruled out with a finger injury.
South Africa were decimated 5-1 in the series and Markram’s form and confidence suffered as a result, with the brainstrust forced to rest him for the T20 series against India in order for the youngster to regroup ahead of the all-important Aussie Test series.
“I think it is very important to clear his mind," Elgar said. "He’s had seven to 10 days off which is potentially good for him given what happened in the ODIs. But Aiden has a strong head, and it is important for him to take in all info and use the info he feels is going to credit his game.
“He is a very talented cricketer and is part of South Africa’s future. He is putting in a lot of hard yards today, and he will do it tomorrow again. That’s just the way he is, that’s his mentality. I think going into this Test series, he realises he cannot take his talent for granted at this level. It is almost like you have to over-prepare at this level to make your game on point.”
Young Markram can certainly feed of his senior partner’s confidence against the Aussies. After putting behind him a nightmare pair of ducks on debut at the Waca in 2012, the gritty left-hander has produced two match-winning knocks at Port Elizabeth in 2014 and Perth in 2016 when he struck 83 and 127 respectively.
“Personally, it’s nice to have gained a bit of experience against various oppositions and just nice knowing that you have contributed in previous series for your side, especially in a winning-series moment,”said Elgar.
“It’s nice knowing that you could have the upper hand against the opposition if things go your way. Test cricket is a very fickle format.
“We know anything can happen on the day and you just have to try your best and prepare hard for this kind of Test series.
“That’s how I’m going to look at it in the preparation factor. I’m not looking at the past of what happened. I’m also very excited for the series,” said Elgar.