South Africa's top-order batsman Aiden Markram has been roped in by the Punjab Kings for the remainder of IPL 2021 – starting September 19 – as a replacement for Dawid Malan. Malan, along with a couple of other England players have opted out of travelling to the UAE for the T20 tournament.
The IPL opportunity comes to Markram almost like a vindication for his efforts just the night before, when he negotiated tricky conditions in Colombo to smash a match-defining 48* off 33 balls – including 1 four and 2 sixes. This will be Markram's first stint in the IPL, after having gone unsold in the previous auctions.
In the one outing that Malan got for the Punjab Kings, he batted at No.4 behind Prabhsimran Singh, Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle. Markram, though, has predominantly featured in the shortest format as an opener – playing as one in six of his 12 T20I innings. In those innings, Markram has scored 405 runs – including four fifties – at a strike rate of 150.
Markram is currently on an international assignment in Sri Lanka – with two more T20Is to play on September 12 and 14. It remains to be seen when he can join up with the squad and be available to get on the field for the Punjab Kings, who have lost five of their eight fixtures, sitting at sixth spot in the points table.