David Bedingham thrives on post-Brexit discomfort to power Durham once more

Durham 307 for 4 (Bedingham 170*, Burnham 75, Conners 3-54) vs Derbyshire

When David Bedingham was unveiled as a Durham player before the start of last season, he abandoned hopes of an international future with South Africa with the conviction that he was about to make his life in England. It caused his coach at Cape Cobras, Ashwell Prince, to complain: “We can’t keep pretending there is nothing wrong.”

Brexit might have changed all that, as it has for many South Africans who can no longer use county cricket as such a certain pathway to a life in England – Graeme van Buuren being the latest to get wrapped up in red tape. With the disqualification of Kolpak players from county cricket came the ECB’s pronouncement that they would no longer accept the ancestral visas on which Bedingham hoped to depend. The bar is higher now.

Bedingham must now make it in county cricket as an overseas player and, judging by his magnificent start to the season, he is capable of doing just that. A career-best 180 not out against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in the opening round has now been followed by an unbeaten 170 against Derbyshire on his home turf – and the chance to extend that CB on the second morning. The additional pressure appears to have been the making of him.

“I was just happy to have a job at Durham,” he said. “Brexit happening didn’t help my case. Hopefully, I can justify it with more runs.”

Derbyshire will view life a little differently. As well as he played, they should have run Bedingham out with only a single to his name. When Alex Lees jabbed Sam Conners into the covers and changed his mind about a single, Bedingham was more than halfway towards him, but Fynn Hudson-Prentice, valued above all for his reliability, sent a throw wildly off target when he should have been run out comfortably at the bowler’s end.

From that point on, Bedingham batted with aplomb, picking off Derbyshire’s attack with simplicity. He had a scare on 76 when he edged Luis Reece between wicketkeeper and slip, but it was a rare blemish for a player who has now overtaken Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth as the leading run-maker in the country.

This youthful Derbyshire attack is learning on the job this season – the know-how of the veterans Ravi Rampaul and Tony Palladino is no longer available – but there was enough quality to suggest that Bedingham, 27 today, can prosper against better attacks and still might have an international future if he so desires.

It will be interesting to see whether the likes of Harmer, in particular, and Bedingham, now their future in county cricket is as overseas players, attempt a reverse-ferret and seek out an international pathway with South Africa. Even allowing for the complexities of diversity quotas, South Africa do have a chance to reverse the drain to England that has debilitated their cricket.

Source link