T20 Blast, Yorkshire CCC v Worcestershire: Dom Bess grasping his chance at Headingley

IT is an exciting prospect for Yorkshire and their supporters to see how Dom Bess develops in the coming years.

What a catch: Yorkshire's Dom Bess brilliantly claims a return catch off Derbyshire's Leus Du Plooy. Picture: Tony Johnson
What a catch: Yorkshire's Dom Bess brilliantly claims a return catch off Derbyshire's Leus Du Plooy. Picture: Tony Johnson

One should take a moment to consider the situation.

Bess, 23, has played just 59 first-class games – 14 of them Tests – and is still learning his trade as an off-spinner.

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Contrary to what some people might think and/or have written, his record is perfectly respectable on every level, averaging, as he does, around 30 with the ball in Test/first-class cricket, and in the low-to-mid 20s with the bat.

The sample size is even smaller for him in white-ball cricket, where Bess has played just 25 one-day and T20 games combined.

But the essence of the matter is this: here is a talented young player at the start of his career, one with the ability to develop into a genuine all-rounder.

What he needs now is plenty of cricket to hone his skills – opportunities he is now receiving at Yorkshire.

It is no secret that Bess found chances hard to come by at his previous club, Somerset, where he was up against England’s Jack Leach for a place in the team, prompting the move north on a four-year deal.

“The thing that screams out to me is the opportunity I get given here,” said Bess ahead of tonight’s T20 Blast match against Worcestershire at Headingley.

“That’s all I wanted at Somerset, and it probably didn’t happen as much. At times, I felt like I was probably a little bit stuck. I felt like I couldn’t express myself.

“Obviously up here I’m first spinner in the red-ball stuff, and now I’m starting to play T20 as well. All I’ve ever wanted is the opportunity to play, to allow myself to go out there and express myself, because I’m a fairly confident person and I do back myself.”

Bess is growing into his role at Yorkshire, where he has had a solid season. Fourteen wickets in eight County Championship games (to go with 290 runs) is a return that should rise as more pitches take spin, and his appearances in the last two T20 games have yielded figures of 2-30 against today’s opponents at New Road, and a career-best 3-21 in Sunday’s victory against Derbyshire at Headingley.

“It’s very different conditions now in terms of the pitches,” he said. “Start of the season in red-ball I had to learn how to control games; now we’ll hopefully see more spinning wickets start to appear and I can build on that and hopefully win games for Yorkshire, impact games for Yorkshire.

“My batting is still a work in progress. I want to make myself accountable to score big runs, and if it’s not big runs then important runs when needed.

“I haven’t shown a lot in T20 batting yet (Bess has had just five innings) but it’s something I’m working on and hopefully when the opportunity comes I can take it.”

That Bess is still a greenhorn in terms of first-team T20 is evidenced by the fact that he has made just 10 appearances, to go with 24 T20s at second-team level.

Once again, it all boils down to opportunity, with Adil Rashid’s return to England duty further ensuring that Bess should gain plenty more of it going forward.

“I haven’t played a lot of T20 – or rather I have played a lot of it, but not at first-team level,” he added. “At Somerset, I played a lot of second-team T20, but only one T20 in the first-team.

“I know my strengths in T20 cricket.

“I’d like to think I’m an intelligent cricketer and I read the game well, and I do my homework, which is really important.”

Yorkshire’s 39-run victory against Derbyshire was their fourth in six T20 matches this year to go with one defeat and one no-result.

With eight games to go in a group stage that is longer than the narrow ginnel that runs alongside Headingley stadium and joins St Michael’s Lane and Kirkstall Lane, the ginnel of gloom, they are well-placed to reach the knockout stages for the first time in five years.

“There’s still a long way to go,” said Bess. “With this format, we know that when you get on a run you can do what we’re doing now and tick along nicely, and vice-versa it can go in the opposite direction.

“So it’s really important that we keep the momentum going against Worcester. It was a really important win away there last week because it’s a really tricky place to win, and I really like how we’re playing our T20 cricket.”

Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Bess, Brook, Ferguson, Fraine, Fisher, Kohler-Cadmore, Leech, Lyth, Poysden, Root (captain), Tattersall, Thompson, Waite.