South Africa: 'Special' Markram Receives Unequivocal Proteas Backing

(file photo).

Cardiff — Aiden Markram may have been a passenger in South Africa's 9-wicket win over Afghanistan in Cardiff on Saturday, but he remains a key player for the Proteas as they plan their way through the business end of the World Cup pool stages.

With JP Duminy now out of favour, Markram has been included in the Proteas' starting XI for the last two matches against the West Indies in Southampton and then against Afghanistan.

He was caught down the leg side for just 5 against the Windies before that match was washed out, but against Afghanistan he did not bat.

Instead, the Proteas elevated allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo to No 3 in the order at 104/1 to finish the match off quickly, which he did.

Markram, one of South Africa's most frustrating players in white ball cricket because of his inability to convert starts into innings of substance, has scored 61 runs at the World Cup at an average of just 20.33 .

His ODI average is a disappointing 28.20 after 22 caps.

As the Proteas prepare for a final stretch of matches against New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia, though, they will be seeking consistency in their top order.

Saturday's Afghanistan fixture was the first time that the Protea have fielded an unchanged team at the World Cup, and listening to skipper Faf du Plessis speak after the contest, it looks like their batting order will remain the same throughout the campaign.

"The plan, as I said before this game, is to try and stick with players now and try and see how we can get some momentum in selection and hopefully that unfolds with runs," Du Plessis said.

"So obviously someone like Aiden coming into the next two or three games, hopefully he really can put his name in scoring runs as well, because we do feel Aiden is a special player.

"I think the world hasn't seen it one-day international cricket yet, but we do believe there's something there that is made for the big stage and also for big games, so we'll be backing him."

Markram has been far more comfortable in Test cricket where he opens the batting alongside Dean Elgar and average 43.80 after 17 matches.

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

Source: Sport24

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