Aiden Markram insists that the Proteas are in good spirits despite poor results on the field, which have all but eliminated them from the Cricket World Cup, writes DANIEL GALLAN at Lord’s.
Speaking to the media at Lord’s in north London ahead of the clash with Pakistan on Sunday, the 24-year-old top-order batsman explained that the desire to leave an impression on the cricket’s showpiece event, and the arrival of the team’s family members, have played a part in lifting the mood in the camp.
‘We were naturally down after the game against New Zealand but we’ve done our sulking and moping,” Markram said. ‘Since we’ve arrived here we’ve been good and the guys are refreshed. We never feel down and out. We’re putting the focus back on ourselves and it’s important to win the next three games.’
Even if they do so it may not be enough to secure passage to the semi-finals. A number of results must go their way in order to sneak into the last four through the back door. Markram is not worrying about hypotheticals. Instead he is choosing to concentrate on a glaring weakness that has afflicted the batting unit.
‘We have been getting starts [with the bat] but it’s about getting big scores,’ Markram said of the batters’ struggles converting handy contributions into match-winning performances. ‘We pride ourselves in getting big hundreds. We feel we’re doing the hard part well up front by getting ourselves in but a lack of execution has let us down.’
Despite the dire situation the team finds itself in, Markram has still found enjoyment from taking part in his first senior World Cup.
‘It has been tough because of the results but it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable experience,’ he said. ‘You learn a lot about yourself when things aren’t going well and I’ve enjoyed the pressure of competing in a World Cup. It is a privilege to be playing for your country on the biggest stage.’
The curtain has not yet officially fallen on South Africa’s campaign, which has also served as a few senior players’ final bow. One future star at least remains upbeat and he will be desperate for a glowing performance at this grand old ground.