Markram hopes IPL stint will help deal with pressure at T20 WC

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 13 2021
Sports Markram hopes IPL stint will help deal with pressure at T20 WC

For the initial three minutes of an online press conference on Monday, Aiden Markram gave nothing away. First the virtually gathered reporters couldn’t see him. Then he couldn’t hear them. All together now: unmute! Happily, in cricket and much else, how you start is less important than how you finish.

Once all the boxes had been ticked and communication opened, Markram concurred: “Guys who consistently finish games well in terms of high strike rates and the ability to find the boundary having just walked to the crease is something I’ve got a new appreciation for. But then you walk in and a team is 30/3, and you need to build a partnership to get to something that’s halfdefendable. 

Neither of them are easy.” Markram knows what he’s talking about in the wake of his six innings for the Punjab Kings in this year’s IPL. He didn’t bat higher than No. 4 and twice came in at No. 5. He took guard before the end of the fifth over only once and twice after the 10th. He faced between eight and 32 balls and was not dismissed before the 13th over. 

He banked scores between 13 and 42, and earned a not out. One of his innings stretched into the 17th over and two into the 16th. This isn’t untrod territory for Markram. Blessed with a textbook technique, he seems the epitome of an opener. But the fact that he has batted at Nos. 3 and 4 in seven of his 13 T20I innings takes us closer to the truth. 

There is an argument for keeping him at the top of the order - his T20I strike rate is 171.30 as an opener and 131.61 at Nos. 3 and 4 - but it’s difficult to believe he couldn’t find the gears to power his teams’ innings to their destination in style. Did the IPL help him progress in the cause of starting that part of his engine? “I’m not sure if it has or hasn’t, but it was a great experience. 

I was in a less familiar role and it was nice to be exposed to that at a high standard of cricket, and to learn on the job.” It was a job that came with significant perks: “To mingle with some seriously good players who do the IPL circuit postgame, chatting to guys who have done well, legends of T20 cricket, was good. It was nice to get some information from them and also to work things out for yourself in the middle of a game.”

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 13 2021

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