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PHILASANDE SIXABA: What to do with Aiden Markram?

What on earth should happen to Aiden Markram? Should he go to the Cricket World Cup or should he just focus on his stint with English County side Hamshire early in the English summer?

It’s a real conundrum for the Proteas selectors whose convener Linda Zondi was in attendance at SuperSport Park to witness Markram’s third Momentum One Day Cup century for the Titans in only his fourth innings in the competition in the final against the Dolphins on Sunday.

Last week I reluctantly penned down my choice of the 15 players who I think should represent South Africa at the Cricket World Cup in the UK in just under two months’ time and Markram’s name wasn’t on my list.

I had gone with the experience of Hashim Amla, who has unfortunately been very short of cricket in recent weeks because of the ill-health of his father. And as much as I still would like to see the veteran on the plane to the UK, I am now beginning to acknowledge that Markram’s form cannot go unrewarded and that a spot in the 15-man squad should be reserved for him.

Now here is the catch. It would not make sense for the selectors to leave behind a man that has 27 ODI centuries and has a career average above 50, but yet again, Markram has not set the International white ball cricket world alight like he has the red ball side of things.

In 18 ODIs Markram averages 29.58 with the bat and has only passed 50 on two occasions, which doesn’t paint a bright picture considering the amount of talent and ability he possesses. Making him stand-in captain for the remainder of the 4-1 series loss to India in early 2018 may have played a role in him not taking ODI cricket by storm, but one thing that still counts in his favour is age and time.

The question for the selectors will definitely be whether they bank on the experience of Amla, even though he has been short of cricket or reward the form of Markram for the World Cup squad, but one thing is for sure it is that the 23-year-old is giving Zondi and his panel good food for thought.

We will all speak again in 17 days’ time when we know the final 15 that will go to the World Cup.

Philasande Sixaba is a sports reporter at Eyewitness News.