Durham sign South Africa opener Aiden Markram for first month of 2018 season

South Africa opening batsman Aiden Markram will join Durham for the first month of the 2018 season, the county have announced.

The 23-year-old will arrive in time for Durham’s Specsavers County Championship Division Two opener against Kent in April and will remain with the Emirates Riverside club until mid-May when New Zealand’s Tom Latham replaces him.

In the absence of regular skipper Faf du Plessis, Markram recently captained South Africa in their ODI series against India but it is in red-ball cricket that he has really impressed, boasting an average of 52 in his six Tests for the Proteas.

Meanwhile, Latham, who spent last season with Durham, has been named as the county’s captain for the Royal London One-Day Cup.

“We’re delighted to have both Aiden and Tom at Emirates Riverside this season and I am confident they will both contribute to what we hope will be a successful season,” Durham CCC chairman Sir Ian Botham told the club’s official website.

“Aiden offers confidence and maturity at the top of the batting order and despite being just 23 years old, he has already been recognised by South Africa as a leader in the dressing room.

“It’s great news that we will have Aiden at the beginning of our Championship campaign, especially with Tom Latham, Ben Stokes and Mark Wood all missing due to their international and IPL commitments.

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“We’re delighted to welcome Tom back to Chester-le-Street and I’m excited to see him captain the RL50; he has a wealth of international experience and brings exceptional batting, fielding and leadership skills into the dressing room.”