Van der Dussen brushes off Markram worries

Aiden Markram (AP)
Aiden Markram (AP)

Manchester - There are very few - if any - young players in South African cricket rated more highly than Aiden Markram

That has been the case ever since he captained the South African Under-19s to a World Cup trophy in 2014, and anyone who has ever seen Markram in full flight will understand the hype. 

When he is in, he looks as good as anyone in world cricket. 

He has hit the ground running on the Test stage, where he has already notched four centuries to average 43.80 in 17 matches. 

In ODI cricket, however, Markram has not come anywhere near to living up to the hype and expectation. 

That was the case once more at the 2019 Cricket World Cup where he was backed ahead of Reeza Hendricks and included in the 15-man squad. 

Markram was rated so highly by the Proteas leadership that he also kept David Miller out of the side for the tournament opener against England at The Oval.

What followed, though, was a tournament of disappointment for a man considered one of the frontrunners to replace Faf du Plessis as Proteas captain when the time arises. 

Markram averaged just 23.30 in his six World Cup knocks and his ODI average now sits at 27.95 after 26 matches. 

Remarkably, in Markram's 24 innings in the format since making his debut in 2017, he has been dismissed 14 times having scored between 20 and 50. 

It shows, quite clearly, that Markram gets a start more often than not, but that he struggles to kick on to play innings of match-winning value.

With a highest ODI score of 67*, Markram has been a long way off the player the Proteas thought they had going into the World Cup. 

He is superb against the hard, fast new ball but, struggles to keep ticking over as soon as pace is taken off the ball and the field spreads. 

That urgency to keep things moving is not something he has to face in Test cricket, but he has been found out looking to force the issue in ODIs, particularly against spin. 

However, for team-mate Rassie van der Dussen, himself considered a possible future captain, there is no cause for concern.

"Aiden is a class player with Test hundreds to his name," Van der Dussen, who was one of South Africa's standout players at the World Cup, said after Sunday's win over Australia at Old Trafford.

"I wouldn't be too worried about the 30s. It's something that, if he gets there again, he can make sure he gets to a 40 and then a 50 and then he can kick on again.

"He's getting good 30s, so that just shows that it is a matter of time before he kicks on."

Markram, despite his poor showing, will remain a key member of the Proteas' ODI group moving forward. 

With JP Duminy now retired, Hashim Amla (36) nearing the end of his career and Du Plessis (34) also pondering his future, the Proteas will need Markram to step up as plans for the 2023 World Cup in India begin. 

Van der Dussen wants desperately to be a part of the international set-up between now and the next World Cup, and he has confidence that in Markram and the rest of the young players in the country the Proteas have more than capable replacements for the 'old school'. 

"JP and Imran (Tahir) going away obviously leave big holes, but we've got guys coming in," he said.

"Hash might play another year, maybe not, but we saw Aiden playing today and stepping into that role and playing beautifully.

"The guys coming in will do the job."

The Proteas are next in action when they leave for India in three T20Is and three Tests in September.

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ... 

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