South African players are tensed after their mammoth loss to New Zealand in the first test. But there’s one particular player that’s surely the most tensed among them all. Aiden Markram. South Africa’s captain Dean Elgar all but confirmed that unless Markram – who averages 9.70 from his last ten Test innings – contributes significantly, he faces the harsh consequences of being dropped from the Test side.
Markram has opened the innings with Elgar since September 2017, but missed the series against India and England in 2019-20. He had a dream start to his career in whites, scoring 1000 runs in his first ten games at an average of 55.55, including four hundreds – two of which in 2018 during South Africa’s first home series win over Australia since readmission.
But things did not continue the same way after that. Markram struggled against spin in sub-continental conditions in 2018 and 2019 respectively, then he lost his spot in the squad because he punched a solid object in the dressing room and broke his wrist. A self-inflicted injury that is. The comeback was far from impressive, with finger injury and poor form leaving him just barely holding on to his spot.
Elgar on Markram’s string of poor performances
“I’ve had a lot of tough conversations with him, and [told him]: ‘You need to score runs for us’, Elgar said. “He understands the situation he is in at the moment. His position is a little bit vulnerable.”
“I’d like to think he is a lot cleverer than that as a player. I don’t think we need to harp on about too many things. He knows he needs to contribute for us and he is in a very important position batting in the top order. We need guys firing. You can’t carry a few spots. It’s okay to carry one guy if he is out of form. I’ve had a lot of good conversations with Aiden over the last few weeks. I need him to return the favour.”
“It’s not about whether we can or can’t. We haven’t done it on a consistent basis, but we are very much capable,” he added. “It’s a bit of a head-scratcher for myself. We know the ability of the players we have. It’s a little bit frustrating and disappointing that we haven’t fulfilled our ability.”