India vs South Africa | Exciting Time For Team With New Faces: Markram
With no Hashim Amla in the squad for what is likely to be a difficult Test series against India for a South African team in transition, the burden of scoring the bulk of the runs and playing out the new ball will fall on Aiden Markram.
The opener however is not unduly worried and is confident of doing well, especially after he smashed 161 against India A in the second unofficial Test in Mysore less than two weeks ago. That however came after scores of 0 and 4 in the first unofficial Test.
"From a personal perspective, it was nice to spend time out in the middle," Markram said ahead of their practice match.
"I think the wickets we get will be a lot different to the wickets we got in the "A" series, but like I said, it's nice to spend time out there. And in the field as well, it was nice for us as fielders to be on our feet for long periods of time and for our bowlers to bowl plenty of spells in these hot conditions. I took a lot from the "A" side games and I'm ready to go in the Test matches.”
"There's a lot of new faces and it's exciting times with the change of staff and quite a few new players as well. There's lots of new and refreshing energy in the camp and the guys look to be in good spirits so we're looking forward to the series."
Markram says he is ready for the Test series and understands that the conditions for the three Test matches against India will be very different from what he and South Africa A experienced earlier this month.
"I think it's never an easy tour coming to anywhere in the subcontinent, let alone India. It's full of challenges, but if we can conquer those challenges it will be really rewarding.
"We are positive and upbeat and we're maintaining a really good language in the change room, a really strong language. At the end of the day, we're not going to harp on about conditions, we pretty much know what to expect and we just need to get the job done."
The last time the Proteas were touring India, they began with ruthless performances in the white ball contests, but were handed a very rude shock when the Tests came about and they lost their first series overseas since 2006.
South Africa had lost the Test series 3-0, and were bundled out for 79 in Nagpur – the lowest Test total by any team against India. The pitch at Nagpur was even rated poor by the ICC.
"I remember watching that series a few years ago and it looked incredibly difficult. And I'm sure there's a bit of baggage that certain players that were on that tour might still be carrying but that's completely fine," Markram said.
The first of the three Tests start on October 2 in Visakhapatnam, with the second slated for Pune (October 10-14) and the final Test in Ranchi (October 19-23).