Durham stint not purely a personal quest for South Africa opener

BBC Sport:  

South Africa opener Aiden Markram says his short-term stint at Durham in 2018 is not just about personal development.

The 23-year will play four County Championship games at the start of the season, having made a stunning impact in Test cricket following his debut against Bangladesh in September.

Markram has scored 1,000 runs for South Africa at an average of 55.55, with four 100s and three 50s in 18 innings.

“The biggest thing is to contribute to the side,” he told BBC Radio Newcastle.

“I am not here for personal development, I am here to try to help Durham win games and in the same breath try to understand conditions better.

“It will be something very different and new to me and that is vital as a young player trying to get better.”

Markram is available for Durham’s Division Two season opener against Kent on Friday and then the fixtures against Leicestershire, Northants and Derbyshire.

In South Africa’s controversial 3-1 series win over Australia, Markram scored 143 in the first Test in Durban in March, and made his highest Test score to date in the fourth match – 152 in Johannesburg.

Markram has relished playing international cricket, albeit his efforts – and that of his team’s – were hugely overshadowed by Australia’s ball-tampering in the third Test.

“It [international cricket] has started off nicely,” he added.

“It’s been very eventful and very busy. It’s a different challenge, Test cricket, and it’s a lovely challenge to go through with the pressure you deal with. It’s a privilege and I really enjoyed it.

“It was tough to see what the Australian players went through as a squad. You wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy.

“But you can’t let things like that slip; you can’t let them get away with it.”