The second season of SA20 is underway in South Africa with defending champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape, led by Aiden Markram, hoping to repeat the success of the last year. Following his title winning run with the franchise, Markram was also named the captain of IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad, a testament to his ever-improving leadership credentials.
It’s not just in the T20 leagues that Markram has shown his leadership chops. Playing for South Africa at international level, he’s led them on several occasions including at the 2023 ODI World Cup whenever first-choice skipper Temba Bavuma was unavailable due to fitness concerns.
Markram has been projected as the next South Africa captain with fast bowling great Allan Donald endorsing the 29-year-old’s claim to takeover the reins, especially in white-ball cricket.
“He’s (Markram) been long talked about as a potential captain. There’s no doubt and even the CEO said that Aiden Markram is going to be the next South African captain, maybe in all three formats – not what really happens these days. Players, especially captains, take a lot of pressure on themselves, captaining all three formats,” Donald said.
“In terms of white (limited-overs cricket), there’s no doubt (about him), I just love his demeanour. He (Markram) is calm, he is collected, he looks like he has captained for a very long time. I think he just has it in him. He has natural leadership in him,” he added.
Donald, who played 72 Tests and 164 ODIs between 1992 and 2003, also feels that Markram is ready to also takeover as South Africa Test captain.
“Whenever he (Markram) has taken over in the white ball format from Bavuma, I think he’s done a fantastic job. I just think what he is doing in SA20 with aplomb, I just love the way he goes about, he has his way. I think captains come and go and South Africa need him in all white ball formats and maybe even as a Test captain. I think that he’ll be ready to do so. There’s no question about it,” Donald said.
Success in SA20 did polish Markram’s reputation and it continues to be a platform for other emerging South Africa stars to showcase their talent.
In the ongoing ongoing season, 22-year-old Eastern Cape batter Jordan Hermann smashed a swashbuckling century against MI Cape Town at Newlands.
Opening the innings for the franchise, Hermann stitched a solid partnership with Dawid Malan and then scored his maiden century in the league. He made an unbeaten 106 off just 62 balls including eight fours and six sixes.
Donald was all praise for Hermann and feels the youngster has a potential to earn an IPL contract.
“There’s a young batter Jordan Hermann who made 100 the other night at Newlands and he’s an outstanding young player. He’s been sort of sitting on the fringes, not playing much red-ball stuff, in and out being considered. I’m though not a big fan of labeling young kids as white ball players or one format players but Jordan Herman has got potential to be snapped in the IPL,” Donald said.
“I think there’ll obviously be a lot of Indian scouts and owners and people out here in South Africa at the moment that would have taken note of this knock the other night, that he (Hermann) played against MI Cape Town. But he’s an exciting young kid, really great left hander, so nice on the eye, but I think, look out for this kid. I’m a big fan of his,” he added.
Heinrich Klaasen is another South African who has been in dazzling form for some time now. He recently smashed a monstrous 105m six while playing for Durban Super Giants against Sunrisers Eastern Cape in SA20.
Donald feels Klaasen has the potential to become the Most Valuable Player on the planet and can get close to emulating the likes of AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell, two of the biggest hitters of the cricket ball.
“After the recent IPL, I reckon that he (Klassen) will be the Most Valuable player or could be very close to the Most Valuable Player on the planet,” said Donald.
“At the moment when I talk from a South African point of view, I think he (Klaasen) is just sublime to watch. He’s just absolutely unbelievable. He is a guy who can get close to AB de Villiers or Maxwell. When the IPL kicks into the next cycle, I think that he could be one of the highest (paid) players and also Jordan Hermann,” he added.