A few weeks ago, it looked like Aiden Markram had blown his chance to be part of the Proteas World Cup squad.
He had been left out of the ODI series against Pakistan, having last featured in the green kit for South Africa against Australia in Hobart last November.
By his own admission, the “numbers just weren’t good enough” – 407 runs in 16 matches, at an average of 25.43, with a lone half-century.
The likes of Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen had gone past him, and even when Hashim Amla was given a breather for the first three ODIs against Sri Lanka, Markram was still overlooked.
The 24-year-old, instead of sulking, went back to the Titans and did his talking with the bat, hitting 169, 139 and 85 against the Cape Cobras and Warriors (twice) in a remarkable three-match run of form.
Markram has regained his mojo, and it has resulted in one last chance to stake a claim for the 15-man group that will travel to the UK in May.
“I think, by no means have I looked into selection over the last couple of weeks. I was obviously left out of the squad, and rightly so – the numbers just weren’t good enough,” the tall right-hander told the media in Port Elizabeth ahead of the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka at St George’s Park on Wednesday (1pm start).
“Since then, it’s been a case of taking selection out of my mind. I’ve been with the Titans for a couple of weeks now, and really wanted to invest all my energy and efforts into that team.
“So, I’m going to come here with the exact same mindset, and I’m going to try to be full of energy and positive vibes for the side. And then we will see what happens.
“It’s always easier to say when you are scoring runs. But the goal a couple of weeks ago was really just to spend as much time as I could at the crease.”
Markram felt that his desperation to make the Proteas World Cup squad may have affected his approach to white-ball cricket.
“I found that I was a few gears ahead of where I should be, and spending time at the crease would allow me to work things out and get a formulation to time my innings a bit better,” he added.
“Fortunately I was able to do that, and I could afford to just bat and under no pressure to score runs (for the Titans).
“There was a stage when it was really important to me, but like with most things in life, once you experience a low, you put a lot of things in perspective.
“But it would be an absolute dream come true. I’m trying my best to get in, but whether it happens or not, it would sit easy with me.”
Markram is likely to open the batting with Quinton de Kock on Wednesday, especially after Amla withdrew from the squad due to his father falling ill.
Hendricks has been called up as a replacement for Amla in the squad.