2 minute read
23 Sep 2017
5:40 am

Markram at long last gets chance

He looks set to make his Test debut against Bangladesh in the first Test in Potchefstroom next week.

Aiden Markram. Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images.

Better late than never, but you feel the national selectors missed a trick in England earlier this year.

Former South African under-19 captain Aiden Markram looks set to make his Test debut against Bangladesh in the first Test in Potchefstroom starting on Thursday – but you feel the selection panel should have given him a chance in the UK.

With home Test assignments against Bangladesh, India and Australia to come in 2017-18, the selectors should have opted for Markram ahead of the summer stretch of the season.

The Titans opening batsman, who turns 23 early next month, was in the national squad on South Africa’s unsuccessful tour to the United Kingdom earlier this year, yet did not feature in any of the internationals.

In England, Heino Kuhn’s maiden foray into Test cricket at the age of 33 was not a good one. He made 113 runs at an average of 14.12 in four Tests.

The selectors should have picked Markram for the fourth Test of the series in Manchester after Kuhn’s earlier failures.

Before that, Theunis de Bruyn’s role as a makeshift opener for the third Test in New Zealand – after they dropped the out-of-touch Stephen Cook – was also a failure.

Markram, who captained the national under-19s to glory in 2014, had a breakthrough season in the last campaign. He finished as the third-highest run-getter in the 50-overs Cup and was solid in the first-class competition.

This week, he put his hand up with scores of 119 and 87 in the first round of the local four-day competition.

The same can be said for 21-year-old all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo. Also in the Test squad, he did not feature in any of the Tests in England and was ignored for De Bruyn’s gentle seamers in the final Test.

Despite the oversight, at least the national selectors have seen the light. It’s now in Markram and, possibly, Phehlukwayo’s hands as we look to the future.