Dom Bess has admitted he was surprised to be dropped from the England XI in India and says that it has been “tough to watch” the two matches he has missed but is in a “great space” to return to the side in Thursday’s final Test.
Bess was dropped for Moeen Ali after the opening Test of this series, having taken 17 wickets at an average of 23 in three matches – all victories – this winter. England opted to pick a fourth seamer rather than Bess, a second spinner, in the Third Test, a decision they now accept backfired badly. Like the Second Test, the ball spun lavishly.
Bess, 23, said he had looked to use his absence as an opportunity – but did not shy away from his disappointment at the decision.
“It was certainly a tough pill to swallow,” he said. “I probably didn’t see it round the corner, but with what got explained to me, looking ahead, bigger picture, and things I could potentially work on, I definitely took it in my stride in terms of opportunity. What can I come away from the main stage and look to improve on?
“The coaches certainly had their reasons, which I completely respected. It was really nice to see Mo come back in and perform the way he did. When he was here the way he went about things was quality and as a young spinner learning off him was really important. In my view, it was a tough pill but I had to look for an opportunity to get better when I was away from it. It was a shame to miss out but that’s sport.
"I personally didn’t think I needed it but as time went on I think it was probably the best option. I think a lot about the game and I’m always trying to get better. The hardest part for me was to get away from it. The management sort of did that for me. That’s certainly freshened me up.
“Hopefully [I will] look back on that period and think it’s been a real success heading into the last game. In the longer-term too, six, 12 months down the line. I was happy with that break.”
Bess says he is raring to go on a turning track, which he believes is the “ideal situation” for him.
“I certainly am [ready],” he said. “It’s a massive honour to play for the country. I’ll always give my all, but it’s my mindset how I’m going about things, I’m in a great space right now to hopefully 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 the] ideal situation. There is always going to be pressure around it, but I’d rather be bowling on spinning wickets than green ones at Trent Bridge or somewhere like that. I want to be bowling in the conditions that suit me best.
“Certainly these last two pitches, it’s been tough to watch because obviously it’s been spinning. When I get my opportunity hopefully I can contribute. I don’t think there’s any added expectation, it’s more an opportunity.”