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Aiden Markram quite keen on Test captaincy

Opening batsman Aiden Markram is ready to give it his all for the Test captaincy role of South Africa but admits he is doubting his own ability after encountering a difficult period in the longer format for the national side.

Markram, 25, is considered one of the candidates for Test captaincy from Faf du Plessis when South Africa return to five-day action. He will likely be competing with Dean Elgar, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma and Keshav Maharaj, who recently put his hat into the ring, for the role.

“It is just nice to be considered and I’d give an absolute arm and a leg to be able to do it, but in the same breath I don’t want to become desperate about it,” Markram said in an interview released by Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Monday. “It’s one of those things where if it were to happen it would be amazing. But if not, there are plenty of good leaders within the environment that will definitely take the team.”

Markram has an edge considering that he is a World Cup winner at under-19 level. He had led South Africa to victory at the 2014 Cricket Under-19 World Cup, and Graeme Smith, the current CSA director of cricket, had identified him as a future captain for the senior side.

“I really enjoy captaincy,” Markram said. “I enjoy the responsibilities that come with it. I have been able to watch from franchise captains to a guy like Faf and it is just something that I would love to do.”

But the issue facing Markram is that he is in terrible form. In his last five Test matches, Markram has made only 183 runs at an average of 18.30. He had injured his hand when he struck a wall in anger following a pair of ducks in India last year.

“I have certainly doubted myself and doubted my abilities,” Markram said. “At the top level, you’re just a few bad knocks away from people wanting you out of the team. I doubted myself quite a bit this last year. It’s a tough space to be in but it comes with the territory and if you want to be a top performer at a high level, you’ve got to find ways to deal with it.”

South Africa are next set to play two Tests in the West Indies in late July, but it is doubtful that tour will take place owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rohit Sankar is a freelance cricket journalist stuck in a love-hate live-in relationship with the game. To rile him up, mention the 1999 World Cup semi-final. Rohit has been writing about cricket for well over 10 years now, and has written for a variety of news and sports outlets over this time.

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