Markram not taking anything for granted as South Africa gear up to face Ireland
South Africa will not risk any complacency when they face Ireland in this week's two-match T20I series, Aiden Markram has promised.
The Proteas are in the midst of their all-formats tour of England, and after beating Jos Buttler's team in a three-match T20I series, they face an Ireland side that is still winless in a T20I series under new coach Heinrich Malan, who goes up against his home nation.
Ireland came close to famous wins against both India and New Zealand, but they have lost their last six T20Is, which is tied for their longest losing run in the format, while they have already suffered defeat in eight T20Is in total this year.
South Africa played Ireland in 2021, drawing an ODI series but comfortably winning the three T20Is.
Markram, however, is not taking anything for granted ahead of Wednesday's opener in Bristol, as South Africa look to gear up for this year's World Cup, with the Proteas only playing India in the shortest format in between this series and heading to Australia.
"It will definitely be a new, exciting challenge for us," he told reporters. "We played them quite recently in Ireland and we saw exactly what they could do.
"They are improving series by series, we saw them against India, and they are a team you can't take for granted."
South Africa do not go into this with their first-choice squad, with injuries to captain Temba Bavuma and paceman Kagiso Rabada.
Markram though is among the players eager to stake a claim ahead of the World Cup.
"The communication has been really good from coach, management team and captain," said Markram, who has been the top scorer for South Africa in eight T20Is since the beginning of 2020.
"It makes it easier to understand why they are [rotating players]. Building up to World Cups you want to pick your best squad and it's important to give guys fair opportunities before you select the team."
Tector tipped to flourish
Harry Tector is likely to be key for Ireland. He is reportedly drawing interest for Cricket South Africa's new T20 league, meaning he has a real chance to impress any would-be suitors, having scored 384 runs across 14 ODIs at an average of 76.40 this year, and 249 in nine T20Is.
Tector said: "We've shown that when we stand up to these teams, we are capable of going blow-for-blow with them, and it feels that way within the group. The belief is there that we can beat these big teams, and not get nervous about any team we play."
Catching practice required
Since the beginning of 2021, no team has dropped more catches in men's T20Is than South Africa (40), who have managed a catch success rate of 79 per cent during this period
Quinton de Kock does not buck that trend, as since the start of 2020, he has dropped more catches than any other wicketkeeper.