Cape Town - Aiden Markram's Test
statistics make for near-perfect reading.
Just 10 matches in after making
his debut against Bangladesh towards the end of 2017, Markram has amassed
exactly 1 000 runs in the format, carding four centuries
and boasting a healthy average of 55.55.
That is all the time it has taken for him to be
considered one of the most important players in South African cricket, and that
has only been intensified since the international retirement of AB de
Markram is only 23, but he is considered the man to
take over from Faf du Plessis as Test captain and has already skippered the ODI
side five times.
The future is as bright as it could possibly be,
but the one statistic that Markram will be mindful of is that he has never
played a Test match outside of South Africa.
In Sri Lanka, he will be faced with conditions that
he is yet to experience in Proteas colours.
South Africa's 2015 tour to India, where they lost
3-0 on what were sometimes described as 'unplayable' wickets, is still fresh in
the minds of South African cricket followers.
While the conditions in Sri Lanka might not be as
extreme, they will certainly be more India-like than South Africa-like, and the
hosts also boast one of the most respected spin bowlers in the world in Rangana
"It's really important to me. You don't want
to be labelled as a guy who only does well in home conditions," Markram
told Sri Lankan media on Thursday.
"It's obviously going to be very different.
Any sub-continent conditions are going to pose a completely different challenge
to South African conditions and it's something I'm really looking forward
Markram said that the Proteas had spent the winter
months in South Africa trying to replicate sub-continent conditions in the
nets, but it would still be a foreign experience out in the middle during the
first Test in Galle on July 12.
While the Proteas have taken three spinners in
Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi and the uncapped Shaun von Berg, it is Herath
who will be considered the series' danger man.
"I have no idea what to expect in terms of
conditions, but he is one of the best spinners in the world," he
"It's going to be a great challenge and
hopefully I can take some learnings out of the series."
Speaking on filling the void left by De Villiers,
Markram said the Proteas batters needed to step up and take their
"It's never nice to lose a player like AB. The
quality that we lose is massive," he said.
"Having said that, we have got plenty of depth
and guys on this tour that can do the same sort of role. There might be a
little bit more pressure on the batters, but there is always pressure in this
profession and we have to just crack on with the game."