‘Can’t keep pretending there is nothing wrong’ says Ashwell Prince as Farhaan Behardien, David Bedingham join Durham

Ashwell Prince has blamed Cricket South Africa for the departure of Cobras’ batsman David Bedingham to Durham for the 2020 season. Bedingham has obtained the right to work in the UK through an ancestral visa, not a Kolpak deal, and is unavailable to play for Prince’s Cobras in the domestic one-day competition, which started today.

Bedingham was in second season as a contracted Cobras player and has been playing in the Western Cape throughout his career, initially for Boland, the province that he captained and then to the Cobras franchise. He was also a regular presence in South Africa’s Under-19 squads.

Prince believes CSA should have done more to keep Bedingham playing in the country. “It’s about opportunity, it’s about uncertainty for the players,” Prince said. “We tried everything to keep David here.

“In my honest opinion he has a better chance to play international cricket for South Africa if he had to stay. It’s high time that CSA sits down and look at things a little bit closer and get to the fact of the matter of why players are leaving, don’t beat around the bush, that’s where we’re at. I have a good understanding why he left, if anyone at CSA has spoken to him, they will also understand the reason.

“If I have to criticise, people who can play at the highest level cannot just be seen around every corner, you just don’t see it; it’s one percent of players who can play at the highest level. Not everybody can play at that level and yes, there’s no guarantee that David could go on to play at the highest level, but in my opinion I feel that he had a good chance to play international cricket.

“Some people might say he has not done enough yet, but you can argue that he should at least be around the SA ‘A’ squads at the very least and he hasn’t had an opportunity at that level. The reality is that we can’t keep pretending there is nothing wrong.”

Bedingham will be joined at Durham by Farhaan Behardien, the allrounder who last played for South Africa in November 2018. Behardien played 97 white-ball internationals in all, but missed out on selection for last year’s World Cup squad and his chances of making the T20 World Cup squad seemed to have disappeared. Behardien has signed a two-year contract, while Bedingham’s deal is for the 2020 season alone.

“I have loved representing South Africa for many years, but now is the time to explore a new chapter,” Behardien said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to support Durham’s ambitions and play a key role moving forward in their success.”

The pair join two other South African-born players – Gareth Harte and Brydon Carse – in the Durham squad.