SA’s Bedingham is eyeing ‘life after cricket’ in England

Henry

David Bedingham, the batsman who made an impressive Test debut for South Africa against India last week, says he is still trying to obtain a British passport – but not so he can play cricket for England.

Bedingham scored 56 runs in the Test in Centurion and impressed observers with his batting and hitting.

The 29-year-old batsman has been playing English county cricket for Durham since 2020.

He can claim British citizenship through his ancestors and did not take part in the 2022-23 domestic South African season; this has led to speculation that he sees his future in England instead.

“I’m still trying to get a passport in England, but it’s not for cricket – it’s for life after cricket,” he said this week, before the second test that starts on Wednesday at Newlands.

“I would love to continue playing there (in England) but since I’ve been there I’ve played as an overseas player and I don’t think that’s going to change.”

He has refuted speculation that he hopes to play for England.

“I had the plan to play (county) cricket as a local citizen, but if I were to play for England, it would only be in three or four years,” he said.

He also says a call from Shukri Conrad, the South African coach, convinced him to make himself available for the test team, rather than a place in the SA20, South Africa’s T20 franchise competition.

Bedingham and Keegan Petersen are the only two players who played in the first test which included the South African team’s two tests against New Zealand. All the other first-choice players have committed to the SA20.

“I had my name removed so I could play in New Zealand,” he said.

“Shuks (Conrad) called and said there was a chance. When I heard that no one from the SA20 could play, I thought my chance of playing was quite high. I didn’t think twice.”

He also says his inclusion in the team for the series against India was a surprise.

Bedingham played for South Africa in 2012-13. 19 team and was long considered one of the country’s most promising young players.

However, a serious car accident in 2016 kept him on the sidelines for a year, which means he made his international debut relatively late.