If diplomacy is one of the key skills to becoming the Proteas’ next Test skipper, Aiden Markram should be a prime candidate.
The 25-year-old opener on Monday became the latest player to publicly declare his candidacy for the role, even though he bordered on being coy at times.
“I’ve never given captaining my country too much thought,” he said.
“It’s always been a shot in the dark for me. But now that my name is the hat for people who are writing news so to speak, it’s nice to be considered. I’d love to do it and I’d probably even give an arm and a leg to do it.
“I’ve said it before though that it’s not the be-all and end-all for me. I don’t want to become desperate about it. I’d be honoured and excited, but I’m not looking too much into it.”
Markram has ample reason to have a more balanced view on the matter, especially after his chastening experience during 2018’s ODI series against India.
With both Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers sidelined, then national coach Ottis Gibson decided to throw the World Cup-winning former national Under-19 captain in at the deep end, installing him as leader for five of the six matches.
An injury-ravaged South Africa were hammered in that series, losing 5-1, and arguably led to Markram’s continued difficulties in the 50-over format.
Yet it’s also the type of experience that would prepare him better for the rigours of Test stewardship, especially in light of other contenders such as Temba Bavuma, Keshav Maharaj and Rassie van der Dussen having not done so.
“From a personal perspective, I really enjoy captaincy and the responsibility associated with it,” said Markram.
“I’ve been able to watch and learn from various franchise captains as well as someone like Faf. If it were to happen (being named captain) it would be great, but if not, there are plenty of strong leaders in the group that would definitely take the team forward.
“My main focus is to get back into the team and stay there.”
– Compiled by Heinz Schenk