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by Durham CCC & Cricket World Monday 18 May 2020
The 26-year-old joined the club as a Kolpak player ahead of the 2020 season after signing a 12-month deal. However, he had limited time to get to know his new surroundings and build a rapport with the team before the lockdown was enforced in March.
Bedingham made the decision not to return home to Cape Town to be with his family during lockdown. He has admitted it has been extremely difficult being apart and separated by 8,500 miles amid the crisis that has engulfed the entire world.
“It definitely has not been what I expected in the first two or three months,” he said. “I spoke to my parents about it and I was planning on going back, but I thought it was only going to last about a month or so.
"The prospect of going back to South Africa and then having to self-isolate for two weeks then probably spend 10 days with my family before flying back to England and then quarantine for another couple of weeks – I thought it wasn’t worth it.
“In hindsight I wish I went home then I’d be with my family and my dogs. At that stage the risk was too high, especially being a new player. I think the last thing I wanted to do was to be stuck in quarantine in South Africa when everyone was training.
“My family are fine back in South Africa, my girlfriend is staying with them. So whenever we Facetime they’ve always got the barbecue going and even though it’s getting towards winter there, the sun is always out and they’re swimming in the pool.
"It obviously makes it a bit harder when I’m stuck in my flat. I think the hottest day here has been 18 degrees, while they’re busy tanning and swimming in 26 degrees. It’s tough seeing that, but hopefully I’ll come out stronger for the experience.”
To cure his boredom Bedingham has turned his hand to cooking to enhance his skills in the kitchen after burning through series online streaming services. However, the South African is hopeful that he will be out of his flat and back in the middle in the near future to justify his move to the north east.
Bedingham added: “I’ve almost watched every Netflix series! I’m trying to do some yoga and learn to cook new meals to try to keep busy. I recently finished studying for a BCOM in Finance so I don’t really want to do anymore right now. Eventually I would like to do more.
“I haven’t lived on my own before. I did move out of home for university, but I was staying in halls so food was cooked for me. So I’d rather learn other skills like cooking than do an online course because I had four-straight years of university.
"I’ve been trying my hand at spaghetti and chicken curry – nothing to tough – just the standard meals that will get me through.
“I just can’t wait to get started because I feel that I will make a difference. The ball moves a lot more in England so hopefully I’ll be able to adapt, learn quickly and score a lot runs.
"At this stage, if we can play anything that would be great. Any platform or any opportunity would be great even if there are no people watching. That’s why we train like we do to get a chance to express our skills.”