South Africa piled Markram under pressure, says Graeme Smith

South Africa piled Markram under pressure, says Graeme Smith

Smith also acknowledged the success of the wrist-spin duo - Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.

Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After India thumped South Africa 5-1 in the ODI series, they continued their winning momentum in the three-match T20 series where they lead 1-0. While it is debatable that this was not the best South African side considering their key players like AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock were injured for the most part of this tour, it can’t be denied that all other players were below par.

As a result of du Plessis’ absence, Aiden Markram was made skipper in the ODI series. His leadership skills are known since led his side to a U19 World Cup. However, his captaincy in this series was a surprising move when there were other options the Proteas could look towards.

His captaincy for the senior’s team came early and as a result, several individuals in the cricket fraternity believed that it was not a good decision. Among them is Graeme Smith who believed that Markram should have been allowed to settle into the team before being given the chance to lead it.

“I don’t think it was the right decision, I mean everyone’s been talking about his leadership. I think it was an interim thing, not a full time one. But I would’ve rather had him find his place, find his feet in the ODI set-up and try and get runs behind him. South Africa need players to step up and perform.”

“I just think in a short term, interim thing, especially with AB coming in only after three games, he could have stepped in after three. They could’ve looked to Amla and Duminy in the first three games and allowed Markram to settle.”

Before being handed the captaincy, Markram played only one ODI game. In totality, he has played only 7 ODIs, which led to questions about him being handed over the responsibility despite his lack of experience. Smith also pointed out that the decision was hasty considering he not only did he not have a fixed spot in the team, his batting position was not fixed either.

“He was batting out of position at No. 4 at the start of the series, something he had to come to terms with. Then, you’ve piled him under pressure. He would have gained a lot, experience wise but let’s hope his confidence hasn’t taken a dent,” he said in an interview with ESPNCricinfo.

Praise for Kul-Cha

Smith also acknowledged the success of the wrist-spin duo – Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in their first outing in South Africa where they picked 33 wickets between them, leaving the Proteas batsmen clueless throughout. While it was understandable that there was an element of unfamiliarity when playing them initially, the spinners kept baffling the batsmen consistently.

“They’re obviously two world-class spinners and are excellent finds for India. It’s great to see spin come back into the game, the mystery spinners left the game for a period of time. The Ajmals, the Warnes, there’s been a bit of a gap. So, it’s great to see two guys like that come into the game. It makes the game really interesting to watch,” the former South African captain added.

“South Africa really had no thought to counter them. There was no plan B or C. There was no real plan. South Africa never really found a way to do that,” he said.