At 27 years old, David Bedingham is in his prime and enjoying his best ever first-class season for Durham in the County Championship.
As it stands, the former Wynberg Boys’ High pupil leads the run-scoring charts on 787 at an average of 71.54 – this includes his chanceless 121 over this past weekend and his two other big centuries that has defined his season.
In the season opener, he struck a career-best 180* and 57 in Nottingham, two games later, he bettered that and made Durham’s second-highest championship score in their history with a dominant 257 against Derbyshire, backing that up with a 50 in the second innings.
In that match, he hit another milestone – no other Durham player had scored more runs in a single first-class match.
In an interview with The Cricketer, Bedingham touched on some of the reasons for his outstanding form.
‘My mindset has maybe changed a bit. Last year, I was in the bush for three or four games where I felt like my game was in a bad place. This year, I have probably accepted that in different parts of the season there will be dark patches and that sort of thing.
‘Rather than scoring eighties, nineties and small hundreds, it’s about keep focusing and cashing in to score big hundreds. That has probably been my mind shift, rather than getting to a hundred and playing shots and losing my wicket.’
And Bedingham was right about the ‘dark patches’ he would face, after his double hundred against Derbyshire, he went four matches (six innings) without a 50. In Durham’s latest match he had the perfect response to his mini slump; his 121 set up a 10-wicket victory and took him 13 runs clear ahead of second-placed Jacob Libby in the runs-scored list.
When he signed his Durham contract in January last year, it seemed any potential international career for the South African was gone with it.
His coach at the time, Ashwell Prince, mourned the loss to South African cricket quite openly on social media, which was indicative of how much the Western Province (WP) coach rated him at the time. And it is not hard to decipher why: under Prince, he averaged 46.84 in his first franchise season and 58.16 in the next.
Now, with the termination of the Kolpak agreement opening a lot of new possibilities for cricketers (and closing them in equal measure), the opportunity of representing South Africa is back on the table. But this is all dependent on his form in domestic cricket.
He recently re-signed with WP and will play his cricket in his birth city under a coach who values him while he is in the form of his life. He is one to watch out for next season at WP, their potential middle order made up of Hashim Amla, Zubayr Hamza, Kyle Verreynne and Bedingham does excite.
On the subject of international cricket and playing for South Africa, Bedingham said in another interview:
‘Playing international cricket for your country is of the highest order, so if that happened, I would grab it with both arms.’