Intensity is the key for Markram

Intensity is the key for Markram

Aiden Markram has a unique record that some of the past South Africans captains would have loved to have a World Cup victory. Although it was only at the Under-19 level (2014), the right-handed opener was Proteas' top run-getter in their triumph.

The 23-year-old took some time to break into the senior national squad but was quick to make an impact in the first three Tests he played prior to the one against India last week. He reeled off scores of 97, 15, 143 and 125 for an impressive start to his Test career late last year.

He didn't enjoy the same success against India at Cape Town -- he was done in by a Bhuvneshwar Kumar beauty in the first innings for five while in the second he couldn't capitalise on a good start (34), falling to Hardik Pandya.

"You obviously have a gameplan according to the wickets, and you might have to adapt on certain pitches," Markram said about his batting in the first Test. "I didn't want to lose the intensity that I bat at -- it's something I keep close to me as a gauge often. I generally feel when I'm batting at the right intensity I move a bit better and my positions are stronger, so that's something I challenge myself to achieve. It starts in training. Luckily, we have a great attack to face (in the nets) and it's never easy," he offered.

An aggressive batsman by nature, Markram perfectly complements Dean Elgar, who is more sedate in approach, at the top of the order. Markram feels having Elgar, who also plays for Titans like Markram in South Africa's T20 franchise league, at the other end is a massive help for him.

"He's very experienced now in Test cricket. We've come a long way playing together at the Titans. He helps to calm me down a bit -- it's something familiar. There are quite a few unfamiliarities for me so it's nice to have Dean at the other end to calm it all down and make it feel more comfortable."

While terming the experience of playing at home ground (SuperSport Park) as an "incredibly exciting" one, Markram said playing India in only his fourth Test was a massive step up. His previous three Tests have come against Bangladesh (2) and Zimbabwe (1).

"It was a massive step up. There's a reason why they are the No 1 team in the world -- they have quality players in all departments. They tick all the boxes and they have come here to compete, which is great. For me as a young guy, it is awesome."

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