Enoch Nkwe: Why David Bedingham didn’t get a CSA contract

David Bedingham showed his commitment to the Proteas cause by withdrawing from the SA20 auction in order to play Test cricket against New Zealand. Photo: AFP

David Bedingham showed his commitment to the Proteas cause by withdrawing from the SA20 auction in order to play Test cricket against New Zealand. Photo: AFP

Published Apr 5, 2024


When the names of David Bedingham, Kyle Verreynne, Anrich Nortjé and Quinton de Kock were missing from Cricket South Africa’s national contract list, there was an uproar in the country.

CSA director of cricket Enoch Nkwe, in conversation with Independent Newspapers this week, dived deep into the criteria they followed in the contracting process.

Nkwe cited performances and CSA’s prioritising of forthcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) events, including the T20 World Cup this year and Champions Trophy next year.

“The number one priority will always be the performances of players,” Nkwe said in an exclusive interview.

“There’s World Cups every single year until 2031, so those are some of the things we looked at. If we could, we’d contract 30 or 40 players but at the moment, we can’t do that.”

Bedingham’s omission was a unique case, seeing that the Proteas Test batter had an excellent summer, scoring his maiden century in New Zealand.

The 29-year-old Western Province batter went as far as removing his name from the SA20 auction to make himself available for selection for the New Zealand tour, which clashed with the SA20 during the January-February window.

In doing so, Bedingham showed his commitment to the national team, and that only served to add to the unhappiness of SA cricket fans when he was omitted from the contracted list.

However, Nkwe reiterated that CSA’s priorities for the 2024/25 season are the T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy.

“It’s difficult, especially with the T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy in this coming season. (They are) part of our priority. But (Bedingham) is someone that is very close – it’s not that he is completely out of the picture,” said Nkwe.

“From one year to another, priorities shift. There’s no doubt that he will earn himself a national contract if he continues to perform the way he’s performing.

“We only had 18 contracts – some players are on multi-year contracts – so it’s not like we had a clean sheet.”

— Proteas Men (@ProteasMenCSA) March 26, 2024

Furthermore, CSA has introduced hybrid contracts, a new concept that highlights their efforts to adapt to the ever-changing cricket landscape.

This approach will allow CSA to be able to select so-called free agents for ICC events when needed.

This means that De Kock, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir and any other South African free agent who has not yet retired from T20 internationals will be eligible for selection for major ICC events.

“The two other contracts, we have reserved them as hybrid contracts, which purely focus on outside players that are not nationally contracted for ICC events,” Nkwe continued.

“It is something that we are exploring over the next 12 months, and it speaks to the changing landscape that we find ourselves in, with players going into the T20 leagues.

“So, two other contracts are basically still open for hybrids for this coming season.

“And hence we needed to strategically think as to how we can maximise in the next 12 months for the two ICC events – but also, there’s players outside of the nationally contracted list who perform in the T20 leagues.

“So, it becomes about how do we make sure that they qualify or they get selected, because we know that they can’t commit to every bilateral series.”

Moreover, there is the opportunity for provincially contracted players – including Verreynne and Bedingham – to have their contract upgraded should they meet the requirements.

“There’s an upgrading system, which generally happens during the course of the season. This current season we had Gerald Coetzee, after the 50-over World Cup, because he had played a certain number of games and reached the threshold of an upgrade, his (provincial) contract got upgraded to a national contract,” said Nkwe.

“We also need to budget for all those eventualities because we know it’s going to happen.”