Aiden Markram has developed a habit of making his girlfriend, Nicole, cry.
Last week, when he was run out for 97 on debut, his long-time partner was spotted in the Senwes Park stands wiping away tears of disappointment. This week, when Markram banished 97 with a swat to fine leg, there were emotions on show again – but this time of joy.
“She knows how much it means to and that’s probably why,” Markram said.
It’s been a big week for the young couple. Between Markram’s South Africa debut and his first major milestone, he also turned 23. Next week, he will return to his franchise Titans, which he captains, a vastly more experienced man than the one who started the season. Although a young skipper, Markram will take a lot of lessons with him from his first international experience. “I am still a young guy and I have never been one to stamp my authority on environments. But I will take what I have learnt and share it with the guys.”
Lesson number one has been not to underestimate anyone, especially not Bangladesh. Though their attack has barely threatened, Markram was full of compliments. “They were at us quite a bit. The score says they didn’t bowl that well. I don’t think that’s the case. It’s a quick outfield and all of that reflected in the score,” he said. “They had a plan to bowl short. As comfortable as you can be on the short ball, it’s never a great thing to keep facing. They bowled with great energy, good intensity.”
Markram batted with even more energy and intensity, almost as though he was trying to make up for not reaching the milestone last week, by scooting passed it when his chance came again. He admitted it was special to have the man who played a part in his run out then, Dean Elgar, to be in the middle for his achievement.
“It hasn’t quite hit home yet. I think it will at some stage tonight. It’s quite a proud moment for me, especially after last week,” Markram said. “Today I had a little bit of extra focus in the 90s. Dean was with me. And he said it’s a special moment to have shared with me. It was nice for him to have been at the other end.”
If you look at the replays closely, there may have been a glint in Elgar’s eyes too.