Town - Cape Cobras coach Ashwell
Prince has challenged the leadership at Cricket South Africa (CSA) to
stop "beating around the bush" when it comes to the continued loss of
players to lucrative offers abroad and Kolpak deals.
Prince confirmed to media at
Newlands on Friday that promising 25-year-old batsman David Bedingham had left
the Cobras, signing a one-year deal with English county side Durham.
The deal is thought to have been
rushed with Friday being "deadline day" before Brexit takes full
"For everyone that leaves,
it's about opportunity and about uncertainty. Same old, same old," Prince
said in a familiarly open, honest and refreshingly blunt press conference ahead
of his side's One Day Cup opener against the Warriors on Sunday.
Prince added that he and the
franchise had "tried everything" to convince Bedingham to stay.
"My honest opinion is that
he's got a better chance of playing international cricket for South Africa if he
stayed," Prince said.
"Ultimately, you don't know
what's going on in a player's head.
"I don't think David
Bedingham is going to struggle to get a contract at this level - franchise or
county cricket. Where does he have a better chance of playing international
cricket? I think that's here."
Prince's view on players who
leave South Africa is that it is not always a great loss to the national
"Not every Kolpak player is
going to strengthen the Proteas," he said.
"If they were all playing on
our domestic circuit, yes it would make our domestic circuit better, but a lot
of them have tasted international cricket and most of them have failed."
Prince pointed to the example of
former Proteas spinner Simon Harmer, who has been one of the standout bowlers
in county cricket since joining Essex in 2017.
"Who is to say that the
county cricket standard is higher than our local standard?" Prince
"I played there for quite a
few years, so I have a fair understanding of what the standard is like there
compared to here.
"I was there at nearly 40
years old with a little 'boep' and scoring more runs than anybody else in the
country. It's no great shakes, county cricket. It's just the same as here.
"If Simon Harmer is taking a
lot of wickets there, but Dane Piedt has taken more wickets than him in the
same season here, then who is doing better?
"We don't know Dane Piedt
would have taken 60-odd wickets in a season bowling at Essex, because he hasn't
been given that opportunity.
"Is Simon Harmer a better
bowler when Piedt took more wickets than him here? Dane Piedt is the highest
wicket-taker ever in South African domestic competition as a spinner. That's a
fact. So, let's talk about the facts."
Another aspect to consider, Prince
says, is how many opportunities at first-class level get wasted on players who
ultimately leave South Africa.
Sitting alongside their coach on
Friday were Kyle Verreynne and Zubayr Hamza - two young Cobras who have now
broken onto the international stage.
"As a coach you have players
who can do exactly what a Stiaan van Zyl and a Dane Vilas did for the Cobras,
and possibly more, so who does that opportunity go to?" Prince said.
"To somebody who cannot play
for the country or to somebody who cannot play for the country? Three years
down the line I think the Cobras have been right that kind of decision-making
in backing the people who can go all the way.
"We had five or six
youngsters that could go all the way, and if the Kolpak players were still
playing for the Cobras, then those guys would still be playing
semi-professional cricket and they're better than that."
The onus was on CSA, Prince said,
to firmly tackle the issue of why South African players were leaving.
"It's high time that CSA
sits down and looks at these things a little closer and don't beat around the
bush about why people are leaving," he said.
"Get to the crux of the
matter about why people are leaving, face it and confront the brutal facts.
That's where we're at.
"I have a good understanding
about why he (Bedingham) left and I'm sure if anybody up there at CSA level had
the opportunity to leave then they would understand why he is leaving. Let's
not beat around the bush when it comes to that.
"If I have to criticise CSA,
maybe they think that people who can play at the highest level, you can walk
around every corner and find two or three. You don't. You can't walk around
every corner and think you're going to find two or three people that play at
the highest level.
"It's 1% of people who play
cricket that can play at the highest level. If you're losing all of your one
percenters, then what are you left with?"
The Cobras' clash against the
Warriors on Sunday starts at 10:00.