Fit-again Proteas batsman Aiden Markram is approaching a potential return to the national set-up as if he has never played for Proteas in the past.
In an interview with Afrikaans publication Netwerk24, Markram admits he is back to square one in terms of proving his worth to the national selectors after spending a lengthy period on the sidelines through injury.
The 25-year-old broke his hand while on tour in India in October last year, before dislocating his finger in a fielding session during the first Test against England in Centurion in December.
And since then, according to Markram, a lot of other players have put their hands up to cement their place in both the Test and ODI teams.
‘I don’t even think about the Proteas, it is unnecessary pressure. I’m approaching it as if I am restarting my career,’ said Markram, who is currently playing for the Titans in the Momentum One Day Cup.
Since making his return from injury for the Pretoria outfit in February, the right-hander has already accumulated two centuries at the top of the order.
‘If you asked my six years I ago if I thought I would be playing for South Africa, I would’ve said no. I am approaching it as if I’m there again and that is fine, because I have had a lot of chances, especially in white-ball cricket, and I couldn’t capitalise on it. Other players have now been handed opportunities and they have taken it and I’m really happy for them,’ said Markram.
With the T20 World Cup also around the corner, Markram suddenly has an awful lot to prove given the lengthy lay-off he’s had but he remains eager to improve and adapt his game with the time he has at the Titans.
The former Proteas U19 captain admits that he has been doing a lot of work to make scoring runs more difficult for him after growing a bit of a reputation for throwing his wicket away, especially in the Test format, after making good and solid starts for the team.
‘It feels as if I’m moving well. The century in Kimberly [against the Knights] was frustrating because I should’ve made it a big one as there was a lot of time to put the game out of their reach.
‘The one against the Lions was quite satisfying, because it was on a testing surface and it contributed to a win,’ said Markram.
With the Proteas ODI team currently in India, Markram’s main focus is on helping the Titans secure a semi-final spot with their two final matches – against the Cobras and the Knights – scheduled for this week.
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