Dom Bess has revealed how Australian batter Usman Khawaja’s successful recent return to Test cricket is helping him remain patient with his own international ambitions.
The Yorkshire off-spinner has reflected on a profitable first full season at Headingley in 2021, followed by a frustrating winter away in Australia with England’s Ashes squad.
Devonian Bess will return to the South West this week for Yorkshire’s LV= Insurance County Championship Division One opener against Gloucestershire at Bristol, starting tomorrow.
Bess claimed 28 wickets in 14 Championship appearances last season, including innings hauls of six and seven wickets in away wins at Sussex and Northamptonshire, added to 399 runs down the order.
He also claimed 12 wickets in 13 appearances in the Vitality Blast and the Royal London Cup, captaining the Vikings three times in the latter competition.
“I probably didn’t take as many wickets as I’d have liked, but if you look at where we got to at the back end of the season, we were challenging for all three trophies,” said Bess.
“We got to the quarter-finals of the two limited overs competitions, and if we’d have beaten Hampshire down there in the Championship then that competition would have been different.
“I think I grew into it, which was good. Overall, I was happy. It was a good first year for me.
“I showed what I can do with the white ball, and I’m a more rounded bowler now than I was before I arrived (from Somerset).
“As players, we can get pigeon-holed into and out of certain formats. So the biggest thing for me last year was that I showed I can be effective with the white ball.
“My T20 stats were pretty good when I came in. I impacted games and went at six an over, which is pretty tough to do. Most importantly, I contributed to winning performances for Yorkshire, and we made some big strides.”
Bess has admitted his pride at captaining Yorkshire at the start of the RL50, prior to international commitments.
“I know there were some lads missing, but it’s an area where I would like to push on,” he said. “I think there was really good responsibility for me.
“We have a great club captain in Steve Patterson, and there’s a lot of leaders in the group. I’d like to be considered as one of those.”
Bess would be open to doing the job again this season if required: “If it comes, it comes,” he said. “If it doesn’t, it won’t make any difference because I just want to make sure I’m a good influence around the place.”
Bess was part of England’s Ashes tour, though did not play in the 4-0 defeat.
He reflected: “Personally, I was quite frustrated with the winter and how it went. It was tough, and I struggled with it.
“Going to Australia and losing like that was challenging, even though I didn’t play. But I was able to get some good training in outdoors, and I learnt a lot – both life and cricketing experiences.
“I think it will make me a more rounded bloke, which is important as I’m still only 24.
“I’ve had some highs in international cricket, and I’ve also had some lows. I get it, I understand it. But I only see myself continuing to grow and mature.
“I can look at someone like Usman Khawaja and see how he came into that Ashes series, performed and kicked on in Pakistan (751 runs in five Tests this year with four hundreds).
“Just watching him go about his business after time on the sidelines, it shows what can be achieved. I’ve still got plenty of time on my side.”
Bess may not have been central to England’s Ashes plans, but that is exactly what he will be for Yorkshire this summer.
The Gloucester game is followed by a trip to face Northamptonshire at Wantage Road, where Bess claimed a first-innings, career best seven-for last year
“Hopefully it will spin again if the weather stays away,” he smiled.
But first things first – a clash with a county whom he knows plenty about.
“Gloucester are a strong side,” he added. “They’ve got a great squad.
“Being a South West lad and growing up with Somerset and Gloucester rivalry, I’ve seen them progress as a county.
“But I also know how strong our team is.
“We have some great experience, some Academy graduates coming through, players from outside like myself and the overseas on top. It’s a really exciting group, and I think we can be really confident this summer.”