Pain for one Somerset spinner meant an unexpected phonecall for another. Dom Bess wasn’t sure who was calling him when a number flashed up on his phone – it was Ed Smith, the new national selector, saying he was in England’s squad to face Pakistan.
England’s spin role had become vacant after Jack Leach, Bess’ Somerset team-mate, suffered a broken thumb in the nets yesterday and was ruled out for a month.
The selectors could have gone back to Moeen Ali, who was dropped for the final Test against New Zealand, but he hasn’t played any first-class cricket since due to being at the IPL. Amar Virdi has taken the County Championship by storm for Surrey, and would have been a popular choice, but it was Bess, who also offers some batting depth, who earned the nod.
“I was actually in IKEA with my girlfriend. I’ve just got a new house so we were looking for some sofas and I was having an argument with my missus!” he told Sky Sports News. “A number popped up so my girlfriend said ‘take it, because you never know what could happen’, so I took it and the rest is history.”
Bess has taken just one wicket in two County Championship matches this season but claimed 6 for 51 for MCC in the Champion County match in Barbados. He also scored a maiden first-class hundred in that game, form he carried into this week’s match against Hampshire where he made 92. However, it’s with the ball that he’ll have his main role to play should he make the final XI on May 24.
“For me it’s just an amazing achievement. I couldn’t quite believe it,” he said. “I was really gutted for Leachy. He’s worked so hard. Luckily I’m very good mates with him and we work very well at Somerset.
“But I was focused on trying to bowl us to victory, get us a win yesterday against Hampshire, but I couldn’t really think about it to be honest. I was out in the field all day.”