Markram: I've doubted myself quite a bit this year

2020-05-18 18:00
Aiden Markram (Getty)
Aiden Markram (Getty)

It's all been about mental steeliness for Aiden Markram these past few months.

The Proteas opener has indeed been forced to dig for new levels of resolve after two hand injuries wrecked his 2019/20 season, sidelining him for almost six months.

What made those setbacks particularly challenging is the context.

Last October, Markram, according to Cricket South Africa, "lashed out at a solid object" after completing an ignominious pair during the second Test against India in Pune.

He won the race to be fit in time for the Boxing Day meeting with England in Centurion, before fracturing a finger while fielding and missing the rest of the domestic international season.

That type of down-time is enough to drive any professional sportsman to distraction.

"The most challenging part of being injured is not letting your mind run off. When you've got so much time on your hands, you tend to not just overthink things but you delve deep into things which is often quite unnecessary," said Markram.

"I think trying to keep your mind at bay and trying to keep your mind calm and strong when you have time is probably the biggest challenge that I struggled with."

Markram's ordeal though was compounded by the fact that he'd been teetering on the brink of a pronounced slump in form.

After cruising to 1 000 Test runs in his first 18 innings, the 25-year-old has only scored 424 in his last 19 visits to the crease at an average of just over 22. 

He hasn't passed 50 in his last seven.

"I've had thoughts of giving up, but I have certainly doubted myself and doubted my abilities," said Markram.

"At the top level, you're just a few bad knocks away from people wanting you out of the team. I doubted myself quite a bit this last year, since it was quite a struggle for me.

"It's a tough space to be in but it comes with the territory and if you want to be a top performer at a high level, you've got to find ways to deal with it."

Two centuries in the domestic One-Day Cup for the Titans in March certainly hinted at him gradually stamping his authority again with the bat, before the Covid-19 pandemic cut things short again.

At least that's allowed him that extra bit of time for proper mental rejuvenation.

"This time off has certainly been nice to reflect and find ways to not try and blow things out of proportion mentally and just crack on with what needs to be done," said Markram.

READ | Markram doesn't want to become 'desperate' over Test captaincy

- Compiled by Heinz Schenk

Read more on:    titans  |  proteas  |  aiden markram  |  pretoria  |  covid-19  |  cricket


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