Young South African opener Aiden Markram is facing a fight to get fit in time for the third Test of their home series against India, which is scheduled to start on January 24 at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Markram sustained a mild thigh (left-quadricep) strain in the just concluded second Test in Centurion.
As a result of his injury, Markram did not take the field when India came out to bat for their second innings and will now receive treatment and rehabilitation over the course of next week. 12th man Theunis de Bruyn came out to field as a substitute fielder for Markram in the innings.
As reported by ESPN cricinfo, South Africa’s medical team and management will be hopeful that Markram will be fit for the Johannesburg Test, which starts next Wednesday (January 24).
After making his debut against Bangladesh in September last year, Markram has made a strong impression for the Proteas and has cemented his place alongside Dean Elgar at the top of the order. He has scored two centuries and also has two scored in the 90s in his five Tests so far. South Africa have failed to find a reliable opening partner for Dean Elgar ever since Alviro Pietersen’s retirement in January 2014.
If Markram is indeed forced to miss the final match of the series in Johannesburg, it is bound to cause a major selection headache for captain Faf du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson due to the unavailability of any obvious options in the opening department.
A not so bad option for the South African team management would be to promote Temba Bavuma up the order and ask him to do the job. As of now, Bavuma has found himself out of the side after AB de Villiers’ return to the side and was released from the Test squad in order to play in a domestic one-day match on Wednesday (January 17). Bavuma has opened once before in Tests, against India in Delhi in late 2015, where he did give a relatively solid account of himself.