Dom Bess, the offspinning allrounder who played two Tests for England in 2018, has re-joined Yorkshire on loan for the bulk of the Vitality Blast.
Bess will play the first 10 of Yorkshire’s 14 group stage games in the Blast, before returning to Somerset in time for their four-day game away at Warwickshire on 18 August.
After first breaking into the Somerset side in 2016, and taking five wicket-hauls in five of his first six Championship games, Bess has found his opportunities at Somerset limited over the past twelve months – by Jack Leach in red-ball cricket, and Roelof van der Merwe and Max Waller in the shorter forms.
He joined Yorkshire on loan in May, after struggling for playing time this season, and took seven wickets in his four Championship games for them. He has since found his way back into the Somerset side alongside Leach, taking 11 wickets in his two recent Championship appearances.
Coincidentally, the two counties play each other in a crucial Championship game on Saturday, and Bess is likely to be picked for Somerset with Leach on England Lions duty.
Bess admitted last winter that he would be open to a loan move in order to gain more white-ball experience, and after playing only twice in Somerset’s victorious Royal London Cup campaign, was deemed surplus to requirements for the Blast. Tellingly, over the course of his short career, Bess has played more List A games for the Lions than for his county.
Yorkshire’s first-team coach Andrew Gale told the Yorkshire Post that the club would do “everything we can” to secure Bess’ signature on a permanent basis after his initial loan.
But Somerset remain hopeful of keeping him, and coach Jason Kerr said he could “not envisage Dom going anywhere in the near future” after their win against Hampshire.
The club hope that the situation with their spinners does not begin to mirror that of their wicketkeepers in 2013. Then, Jos Buttler eventually left his boyhood club after becoming increasingly frustrated by a lack of opportunities behind the stumps, with England rival Craig Kieswetter taking the gloves ahead of him in all formats.
“I’ve got to look at my personal development and I think it’s a great opportunity for me,” said Bess about the move. “I’m very thankful for Yorkshire for taking a punt on me. I’ve done some good stuff in red-ball [cricket] but recognise that T20 is a completely different game.
“I’m always pushing to be a three-dimensional cricketer, to do well with the ball, bat and in the field. I think T20 in particular brings all three of those skills in. For me as a player, I’ve definitely got something to bring and also a point to prove as well.
“It’s a great opportunity for me in a different competition and group stage. I’ve come back here, done well for Somerset and I’ve got a year left. I’ve got to see how things go.
“A lot of things can happen within a year, as I know. Probably the greatest example I can give is that I got to the top of Mount Everest with the Test stuff and then fell off and then came back again. So I think it will be a very similar answer to last time, I just want to play my 10 games, contribute and push hard and then see what happens.”
Yorkshire will hope for an improved showing in the Blast this year, after finishing one win short of the quarter-finals in both of the last two seasons. They have signed Nicholas Pooran, the explosive middle-order hitter who starred for the West Indies during the World Cup, for the first five group games, and hope to have Adil Rashid available if he misses out on Ashes selection.
Director of cricket Martyn Moxon admitted that signing Bess was “tough on our back-up spinners” – notably Josh Poysden, the legspinner who signed from Warwickshire last year – but said “when someone of Dom’s ability becomes available, then if we’re serious about trying to win the competition, we’ve got to look at it”.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo