Western Province and Durham batsman David Bedingham has targeted playing international cricket for South Africa, not England.
Bedingham first signed a contract with Durham in 2020 – and has forged a career in English county cricket since.
Whether he wanted to eventually qualify and play for England or debut for South Africa remained in the balance until this week.
What Bedingham said
“I’d qualify as a local here in another two years, but by that stage I’ll be 31 years old, and while I’d still have some time left I think my best years are now,” Bedingham told the PA news agency.
“That’s why I’m committed to playing for South Africa, I’ve made up my mind. Another two years just seems too late.
“If I am doing well and scoring runs and I can’t play for England or South Africa, that’s just a waste. I’m not sure if I’ll do well at that level, nobody can be sure, but I want to give myself that chance.
“You don’t want to be 33, looking back, wishing you’d given it a shot rather than waiting, waiting, waiting and finding your best years are gone.
“It’s about saying I gave it a shot. Just getting to that stage and seeing if I can handle the pressure, the glamour, the lights.
Bedingham joined Durham the same year the United Kingdom exited the European Union. Spinner Simon Harmer, all-rounder Wayne Parnell and fast bowler Duanne Olivier, who were all Kolpak cricketers, have since returned for South Africa in international cricket.
“It has been frustrating. Because I’ve been on an ancestral visa and I almost signed as Kolpak player before Brexit happened,” he added.
“I think a lot of the South African public, and maybe the selectors, thought ‘oh, he’s English now’. But as soon as Brexit happened it changed things, for people like Olivier, Harmer, Parnell.
“I was planning to stay here my whole life basically but things happened, Brexit happened, and it opens up other doors. I think everyone is aware now that I wasn’t, so it’s up to me to enjoy myself and score some runs.”