Markram seeks to build at T20 World Cup on South Africa junior successThu, 30 May 2024 10:20:32 GMT

Aiden Markram has an advantage no other South African cricket captain has had before — he led a team to victory in a World Cup.The 2014 Under-19 World Cup remains the only global cricket trophy won by South Africa.Ten years is a long time in cricket, and Markram acknowledges that there is a huge difference between a junior tournament and the men’s Twenty20 World Cup in which he will lead South Africa’s challenge, starting against Sri Lanka in New York on Monday.”There aren’t so many eyes watching you in an age-group tournament, and as a youngster you are maybe a bit oblivious to pressure,” Markram told AFP in a telephone interview.”Back then it was just a matter of handling what was in front of you. Now there is a lot more planning and preparation and making sure everyone is in a good space.”A World Cup is a massive event but I’m fortunate to have been to quite a few so I know what to expect. One thing that hasn’t changed is that I’m excited to be part of it,” he said.Markram led by example in 2014, scoring 370 runs at an average of 123.33, and being named player of the tournament. And he could call on the precocious fast bowling talent of Kagiso Rabada, the side’s leading wicket-taker and destroyer of Australia’s teenagers in the semi-finals.Rabada is the only one of the class of 2014 who will line up alongside Markram in the United States and the West Indies.Markram acknowledges that South Africa’s T20 results since he and coach Rob Walter took charge early last year have been less than impressive.- ‘Good team’ -Under Markram, the team managed just two wins in eight matches, all played at home.Last week, with Markram and six other Indian Premier League (IPL) players absent, they lost all three games against the West Indies in Jamaica.South Africa will go into the World Cup a lowly seventh on the International Cricket Council rankings.But Markram believes the results don’t tell the full story, with South Africa seldom fielding a full-strength team as they managed workloads and gave opportunities to new players.”We’ve got a good team,” he said. South Africa have a potentially powerful batting line-up, with players of the quality of Quinton de Kock, Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller and the exciting Tristan Stubbs, one of the stars of the recent IPL. Only De Kock played against the West Indies.Coach Walter said he had picked bowlers who he believed could strike in the crucial early overs of a T20 contest. Anrich Nortje, the team’s fastest bowler, is a key player but struggled in the IPL and against the West Indies after returning from a long-term stress fracture.”He had a massive injury and a lot of time away from the game but we all back him and know what he can do,” said Markram.The South Africa captain, along with Klaasen and Marco Jansen, only arrived at the team’s training base in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday night after being involved in the IPL final in Chennai on Sunday. “You get used to it,” he said of the travel. “It’s a reality for a lot of players these days.”In a way it is quite nice to get straight into training and getting ready for Monday. Sri Lanka have a great T20 team and it’s important to get off to a good start.”