As the world of cricket was caught up in the ball-tampering scandal that shook the foundations of the gentleman's game, South Africa opener Aiden Markram got the focus back to the sport with a sparkling century on Day 1 of the fourth Test against Australia on Friday. Impressed by the 23-year-old's brilliant knock at the New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, India skipper Virat Kohli took to Twitter and lavished praised on the South African batsman. Following his knock of 152 off 216 balls, Markram made it clear that the appreciation is mutual.
"It's quite a special feeling. There are a lot of players that I look up to who are a bit older than me and he (Kohli) is one of them," Markram was quoted as saying by ICC. "His competitiveness is something to admire and his motivation to keep scoring runs is something I've tried to take on board."
Despite struggling against India in the recent Test series in South Africa, Markram has been on a roll in the ongoing Test series against Australia. While the series has seen numerous unsavoury incidents, culminating in the recent ball-tampering scandal, Markram has gone about his business with the utmost professionalism.
The stylish right-hander has amassed 443 runs so far across the four matches with two centuries and a fifty to his name.
Markram had scored a solid 84 in the controversial third Test in Cape Town, following which Kohli tweeted, "Aiden Markram is a delight to watch!".
Aiden Markram is a delight to watch!— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) March 24, 2018
And after the South African's brilliant 152-run knock on Friday, Kohli praised the batsman with emojis.
Aiden Markram— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) March 30, 2018
The Indian captain had praised Markram even during the India-South Africa Test series.
On the first day of the Test, Markram batted majestically for his 94 before a loose shot to Ravichandran Ashwin saw him caught behind and his innings came to an end.
But, before Markram could leave the field, Kohli approached the departing batsman and praised him for his knock.
"He came across and said 'well played' and 'unlucky to get out'," Markram had said while addressing the media.
"It was a great touch from him. He is a massive competitor as everyone sees on the TV, but it's great to see that he's got good values that people might not always see", he added.
"It was nice, a great gesture and it did mean a lot."