Town – If Aiden
Markram wakes up one night in a cold sweat after
flashbacks of his time in Sri Lanka, nobody could blame him.
It’s been a tough old time for
the 23-year-old prodigy.
Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) 2018
International Newcomer of the Year has come crashing back down to earth.
In his first international
season, Markram scored a perfect 1
000 runs from just 10 Test matches.
Considered the future of South
African cricket, he was then given the captaincy for five ODIs against India
earlier in the year.
Less than six months later,
Markram has been dropped from the Proteas ODI side currently doing business in
Markram is averaging just 5.5 having
batted 8 times
in 6 matches
– Tests, ODIs and warm-ups included.
list of scores since landing in Sri Lanka reads: 0, 0, 19, 7, 14, 1, 0 and 3.
As has been the case for most of
the Proteas on this tour, particularly in the longer format, Markram’s troubles
have come against spin.
He has not yet found a way to
counter the Sri Lankan slow bowlers, and it hasn’t been because of a lack of
effort on his part.
As Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis
said on Friday: “You keep fighting hard and you train hard and hit more
balls, but it just feels like you’re taking a shovel and making that hole a
little bit deeper.”
Markram has been hard at work in
the nets, trying to get out of this slump.
So far, it hasn’t happened, but
he is likely to be given another crack in the fifth and final ODI against Sri
Lanka in Colombo on Sunday.
“Aiden is in a good space.
For a young guy who is going through a tough time, I can see that he’s got a
very mature head on his body. He understands that it’s part of cricket, going
through the ups and downs,” said Du Plessis.
“In that first year
everything was hunky-dory, but you go through these things.
“He’ll use this as a
learning curve and he’s really excited to try and figure out what needs to be
done for him to become a better player.
“We just gave him a little
break and hopefully we’ll see if we can get him in for this last game.”
Making room for a Markram return
in the 5th ODI, however, is complicated.
Heinrich Klaasen has had just one
game in the series, batting at no 4, while Reeza Hendricks at No 3 is looking
to capitalise on his superb century in the 3rd ODI this past Sunday.
Both of those players need to be
backed again, so if Markram does come in it would likely be at the expense of
opener Hashim Amla, who could be rested.
Sunday’s clash starts at 11:00 (SA time).