SA U19 coach Lawrence Mahatlane has backed Aiden Markram to be ready for his Proteas debut.
It’s obvious that the 22-year-old Titans captain has the attributes needed to occupy a role in the starting lineup for the Proteas, reinforcing his claims by scoring his sixth first-class ton in his captaincy debut for the Titans.
Speaking exclusively to SACricketmag.com, Mahatlane discussed whether Markram was the right age to take on the responsibility: ‘If you are good enough, you are old enough.’
‘Aiden Markram is on form, he just scored another hundred in the Sunfoil Series on Tuesday. Mentally, he has what it takes, and we see that with his appointment as captain for the Titans and the SA A side.’
With a coaching career which spans more than 21 years and having seen the likes of Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers and Quinton De Kock reach world-status heights, Mahatlane has an amazing eye for young talent.
He was the assistant coach to the U19 side back in 2002 under the late Hylton Ackerman, and in 2003 was the head coach on a tour to India. In 2004 he was again No 2 to ex-Proteas coach Russell Domingo.
Mahatlane then earned his Level Four coaching certificate in 2008 and went on to coach the Gauteng Strikers, the provincial side who play one level below franchise level. He won the three-day competition in the 2006-07 season and the one-day competition in 2007-08 with that side.
This experience has honed his ability to differentiate good players from the greats.
‘The difference between those youngsters who end up making it and those who don’t, is all about attitude. It’s about the guys who are willing to work hard and have a positive attitude, not only to cricket, but to life in general. So we try to develop the whole person, that’s the key.
‘I’ve been fortunate enough to be working at levels where the talent is there – whether it’s pace, whether it’s being able to bat for long periods of time, or even being one of the better fielders – those are generally things which come naturally.
‘It’s tough to single out individuals, I’d end up naming the whole squad. But, when I look at this group of players and the amount of work they put into the game as well as the character they show; the likes of Raynard van Tonder and Wandile Makwetu are two good examples of that. They are top players and I admire their attitude and the work they put in.’
’It’s a big positive,’ he said about the Global T20 League. ‘Every player wants to grow and be exposed. I hope they will get that exposure in the bigger picture and will eventually take part in the CPL and the IPL.
‘They are not going to continue playing cricket until they are 75, so from a financial point of view it’s important that they have the right people above them who are helping them invest in the right things; from a cricket point of view they must back what got them there in the first place, and back their ability by playing as naturally as possible.’
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