When a young cricketer makes their debut for their respective country, there is always a lot of excitement and hype. Administrators and fans are always looking out for the next prodigy that will dominate world cricket for the next ten years and by doing so, ensure many victories and unforgettable moments along the way. Many young prospects come and go with their international careers as short-lived as a rain-affected T20 game.
There are the odd few that come along and with an exquisitely timed crack off the bat for four or unplayable express pace indicate that they are here to stay. Call it X-factor or exceptional quality, there is a worldwide collective acknowledgement in those moments that a star has been born. It’s easy to see when they do come along as their abilities are far greater than those that have tried before.
On a spring morning in the sleepy hollow of Potchefstroom in 2017 South African cricket knew their young prodigy Aiden Markram had come of age. Against a Bangladesh side that admittedly doesn’t tour well, Markram combined elegance with flair as he notched up 97 on his international debut innings before being run out. Such was the dominance and ease of his innings that on this occasion the opposition attack couldn’t be faulted for letting him get away.
Debut Test: scored 97
2nd Test: scored Century
— #Cricket_Scores (@T20Emirates) December 26, 2017
Like so many of the other young players to stamp their mark on the game of cricket over the last ten years, Markham didn’t just show above average ability, but he had the walk and demeanour to back it up. You see it in the likes of Kholi, Root, Smith, Rabada, and Mitchell Johnson: they never look out of place on a cricket field and the opposition dreads having to play them, given their ability to single-handedly win games for their countries.
Markham’s career since that spring day in 2017 has gone from strength to strength and in the absence of injured ODI captain Faf du Plessis, the 23-year-old has been asked to lead South Africa against India. It’s becoming clearer to see what direction convenor of selectors Linda Zondi and coach Ottis Gibson want to go once du Plessis who turns 34 this year, retires.
The injured du Plessis should be back for the 4 match test series against Australia starting in early March but it is the impact of Markram opening the batting that will go a long in deciding the series. The final match of the tour will be played in early April, punters wanting to place an antepost at William Hill on a Proteas series victory will find odds of 8/13, given the brittle nature of the batsman around Markram, an Australian demolition job with the ball is a very real possibility.
WHAT A DEBUT KNOCK!
— The Titans (@Titans_Cricket) September 28, 2017
The Proteas have never beaten Australia at home in test series since readmission which was some 27 years ago. The stage is set for the new blood in the Proteas dressing room to begin making their own history.
Aiden Markram leads from the front in every sense and has the character and skill to bully the Australian attack instead of being on the receiving end. This upcoming series could see the young batsman play his part in helping his country achieve a famous test series win.