Dom Bess keen to sit back and enjoy the ride with England
Dom Bess is about to become the youngest Test finger spinner in England’s history.
Dom Bess has his eyes on two prizes at Lord’s this week – wickets and sofas.
There is not a second’s hesitation before Bess, set to become England’s youngest ever Test finger spinner, confirms his ‘can-do’ reputation by nominating Pakistan wickets as his first driving force on debut.
The 20-year-old’s second objective will be less obvious to most, unless they have read of the moment last week when a phone conversation with national selector Ed Smith – to inform him of his call-up – interrupted Bess and his girlfriend’s trip round Ikea.
It became clear at his Lord’s press conference on Tuesday that he is a modern cricketer in more ways than one – and has therefore already spotted commercial potential in the timing of Smith’s call.
Asked his first target at HQ, Bess said: “Wickets! I’m an attacking off-spinner.
“I get very competitive, which is a trait of mine, you are always looking for wickets, aren’t you?”
Byproducts may extend beyond England victories, though, to the furniture which has had to take a back seat over the past week.
“I need to get hold of Ikea, I really do, because I’m in need of some sofas,” said Bess.
“As soon as [I took the call], I was straight out of that place to phone mum and dad. I need to have a quiet word with Ikea, I need a sofa!”
Such considerations are a measure of how far, and quickly, Bess has progressed.
He put himself on the fast-track six years ago when, in an early indication he was a sportsman who could make things happen, he informed the Bess cricketing clan of Sidmouth he was prepared to wait no longer for a shot at the first team – so would be moving along the Devon coast and up to Exeter.
He added: “I was 14 or 15, and there was a spinner there called Charlie Miles. He was very good, and I never got my opportunity.
Thank you for all the messages, can’t wait to meet up with the rest of the squad! A dream come true to be named in the first test squad of the summer especially a Lord’s Test! 🏏@HomeOfCricket @englandcricket pic.twitter.com/Wrbw2nuXda— Dom Bess (@DomBess99) May 16, 2018
“I thought if I really want to kick on, I have to move clubs. It was quite a bold statement, a big deal. Down at Sidmouth, my grandfather, my father, all my cousins played there.
“I originally got a bit of stick for it, but I don’t regret it now.”
Two years ago, Bess made his first-class debut for Somerset – against Pakistan, of course – and just 16 matches later, is on the verge of Test cricket.
It will come on only his second trip to Lord’s, and first as a fully-fledged player.
“I was 12th man here [for Somerset last year], so I enjoyed the lunches. I put on a bit those few days,” he said.
“It was amazing – my first time properly up in London, so I was a bit of a tourist as well.”
Does he believe he is ready for the step up? The answer to that one is predictable, and resounding.
“Of course I do,” he said, voicing a note of empathy for fellow Somerset spinner Jack Leach, who made his England debut in March only for a broken thumb to rule him out last week.
“It is obviously a freak accident, and I am gutted for Jack. He is a top man, and I am very good mates with him.
“I look up to him, and he is delighted it was me who replaced him, we have a very good relationship.”
Bess’ early opportunity has come in unexpected circumstances, but he added: “When you get a taste of it, you want it even more.
“I really got that vibe off Jack – and as soon as I’ve been here now, I want it. I want it more and more.”