Aiden Markram didn't have the best debut as Proteas captain by his standards. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix
It’s an opinion that won’t wash with many Proteas supporters, but young stand-in captain Aiden Markram is glad South Africa has experienced its painful One-Day series defeat against India.

It’s not a pleasure that stems from the way South Africa were beaten  which was badly and by varying large degrees in five out of the six matches against Virat Kohli’s side - but rather the timing of the defeats. If there are shortcomings, goes Markram’s reasoning, it’s best they are shown up now and not in the English summer of 2019.

“We’ve probably taken a step back,” Markram remarked following Friday’s eight wicket defeat against India, which sealed the series 5-1 in the tourists’ favour.

“Results-wise, performance-wise, we haven’t moved forward. However I’d rather have this happen now than two or three months before the World Cup... or even during the World Cup. I felt we made mistakes, and then repeated them, so we didn’t learn our lessons well.

“It’s crucial we dig in and rectify what went wrong.’s important we don’t make the same mistakes again.”

His elevation to the captaincy, once Faf du Plessis was sidelined with injury, caught many by surprise. Markram admitted that the leadership may have overwhelmed him and been a distraction, but doing it now had its benefits too.

He averaged 21.16 in the series, with a highest score of just 32. “There’s a lot of pressure; as an individual to do well, I set quite high standards for myself, and not having done well this series, there was that pressure.

“To be brutally honest I’m glad (my introduction as captain) has happened this way, not just for myself, but us as a squad,” said the 23-year-old.

“It really gives us points from which to learn. It’s going to make victories in the future, much much sweeter and make us work a lot harder.

“It’s going to get to a stage where we will really know ourselves well as a side and who needs to do what. It’s going to be an exciting 18 months.”

While many are doubting Markram’s ability to lead South Africa on a full-time basis in the future following the series defeat to the Indians, he received encouragement from the opposition captain.

“It’s not easy, I understand that, especially when the results are not going your way,” said Virat Kohli.

“I’ve been very impressed with him as a batsman and as a captain as well. He’s really composed from what I could see in the field. It’s not easy when things are not going your way, but he’s someone who does not seem to lose his cool which I think is a very positive sign.

“I would really suggest people show patience with him, because he’s potentially (South Africa’s) next leader and a top-class batsman as well it’s a joy to watch him play.

“He’s got the talent to dominate as a batsman, and the right mindset to dominate as a leader as well, he’s just needs some time. I can totally empathise with him...all I can say is, he’s on the right track.”

Sunday Tribune

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