England axing tough to take but it was ‘best option’, admits Dom Bess
Dom Bess has admitted he was caught off guard by his England dropping and found his spell on the sidelines a “tough pill to swallow”.
The off-spinner is a near certainty to return to the XI for Thursday’s fourth and final Test against India in Ahmedabad, with the tourists already accepting they got things wrong by relying on seam in their two-day defeat on the same ground last week.
Bess claimed 17 wickets in his first three matches of the winter, two against Sri Lanka and the series-opening victory in Chennai, but struggled for consistency at times and sent down a number of full tosses in an uncertain final spell.
He was initially replaced by Moeen Ali, but was overlooked once again as England made an ill-fated decision to gamble on pace for the day/night match.
Bess is known for his ebullient mindset and self-belief, qualities his team-mates will hope have not been damaged by events of the past fortnight as they look for a win that would square the series at 2-2.
“It was certainly a tough pill to swallow. I didn’t see it round the corner,” the 23-year-old said of his axing.
“Personally, I didn’t think I needed it but, as time went on, it was probably the best option. I do think a lot about the game. I’m always trying to get better, whether thinking about it or doing it physically.
“So the hardest part for me was getting away from it and I guess the management did it for me. It has freshened me up, I’ve thought about things and then had time to work on it.
“Hopefully I’ll look back over the period and think it’s actually been a real success heading into this last game. Now, for six or 12 months time…I was happy, probably, with that break.”
Asked if he was now ready to step back into the breach against buoyant opponents who have a place in the World Test Championship final to play for, he added: “I certainly am. It’s a massive honour to play for your country. I’ll always give my all.
“I’m in a great space right now to come back in. We’re under a bit of pressure, but it’s a great opportunity to perform. I know I’m ready. It’s very exciting if I get the chance to head out with 10 other blokes to try to draw the series.”
T20 World Cup
England exclusive: Phil Salt focusing on the fundamentals in T20 World Cup bid
Phil Salt wants to be in the T20 World Cup squad in Australia.
Ottis Gibson announced as Yorkshire CCC head coach on three-year deal
Ottis Gibson comes into the troubled county.
New Zealand visit to Australia put on hold due to border controls
Quarantine periods have proven a dealbreaker.
First ODI: South Africa vs India – Live scoreboard
Follow SouthAfrica vs India.
Ashes failure: Eoin Morgan says Test cricket ‘always been the priority’ in England
Morgan defended The Hundred amid criticism of England’s priorities following the Test team’s Ashes embarrassment.
England Twenty20 squad: Jofra Archer’s presence welcomed as he links up
The World Cup-winning fast bowler is still some way off an international return.
ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup
ICC Men’s Under 19 World Cup: England, SA and Afghanistan win
England, Afghanistan and South Africa recorded wins in the West Indies.
England news: Injury-hit Jofra Archer back for first time in nearly a year
Archer is still some way off a return after heading to his native Barbados following a second operation on a longstanding elbow complaint last month.
South Africa vs India: Quinton de Kock will be welcomed ‘with open arms’
Quinton de Kock will be welcomed with open arms in the South Africa squad to face India in a limited-overs series.
Nat Sciver: England ‘a bit more calm’ now after ‘tricky’ start to Australia tour
The multi-format Women’s Ashes series is set to get under way on Thursday with the first of three T20 internationals.