Aiden Markram says they won't drone on about conditions in India. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

VISAKHAPATNAM – South African batsman Aiden Markram says the team is mentally ready to face the challenges that come with touring in India as they continue their preparation for the three-match Test series, which starts on Wednesday, October 2, in Visakhapatnam.

Before that highly-anticipated fixture, however, South Africa will play a three-day warm-up match against an Invitational XI starting on Thursday in Vijayanagaram.

Speaking after the team’s rained out practice on Wednesday, the 24-year-old opening batsman admitted that, while there may be some players who carry scars from their previous tour to the subcontinent nation, the mind-set in the change-room is about playing positively.

“I remember watching that series a few years ago and it looked incredibly difficult,” said Markram. “I’m sure there’s a bit of baggage that certain players who were on that tour might still be carrying, but that’s completely fine.

“I think it’s never an easy tour coming to anywhere in the subcontinent, let alone India. It’s full of challenges, but if we can conquer those challenges it will be rewarding.

“The guys are positive and upbeat. At the end of the day, we’re not going to harp on about conditions. We pretty much know what to expect and we just need to get the job done.”

Markram joined the Test squad after scoring a fine 161 on the second of two four-day matches for the South Africa A team against their Indian counterparts in Mysore.

Markram admitted it was nice to get some runs under his belt, but he was fully aware that they would not be likely to get wickets close to those they played on during the A tour.

“From a personal perspective, it was nice to spend time out in the middle. I took a lot from the A games and I’m ready to go in the Test matches.

“It’s always nice to be back in the Proteas environment and I’m looking forward to the Test series.”

On returning to a Test squad that has seen a lot of changes in recent times, with a new-look team structure, coaching staff and a group of youngsters, Markram commented on how invigorating the changes have been for the team environment. 

“There are a lot of new faces and it’s exciting times with the change of staff and quite a few new players as well,” he continued.

“There’s refreshing energy in the camp and the guys look to be in good spirits, so we’re looking forward to the series.” 

African News Agency (ANA)