Dom Bess started as he means to go on this summer with an opening day friendly century against Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities at Headingley today.
The Yorkshire all-rounder has enjoyed a very productive winter working on his game in Sydney.
He has modified his off-spin bowling action to get some more “snap” into it, while the Devonian has also worked hard on his batting, evidence of which was shown against the students as he hit a positive 113 not out to help Yorkshire recover from 94-5 to 323-7 declared on day one.
“I want to be scoring more hundreds,” said the affable 25-year-old.
“My only first-class hundred was five years ago, and by the end of my career I want to have at least five or six on the board.
“The way we’ve seen England play recently, it will be interesting to see how people go about it. I’m going to have my way, and that’s something I’ve targeted this winter.
“If you look at our lower order and tail-enders, we have a lot of batting. And having been in Somerset teams who had that as well, I know it can destroy teams. That could be getting to a big 500 plus total or just being in trouble and scraping to 200-250.
“The likes of Tommo, myself, Fish, Rev, Milnesy, Coady, we can hurt teams.
“If we want to go up this year, it’s really important that our batting at the lower end contributes. I see myself as a massive part of that.”
Bess has scored seven LV= Insurance County Championship half-centuries for Yorkshire, including a best of 91 not out whilst on loan in 2019. Four of those fifties came last year, scores of 89, 51, 67 and 79 not out.
The latter came in the second innings of the season-ending clash with Gloucestershire in September as he admirably scrambled to try and get Yorkshire over the line.
But Bess’s main role is to take wickets. Whilst in Sydney, he spent time with two Australia spinners present and past alongside ex-ODI batter Peter Forrest.
“It’s been a really interesting winter,” he said.
“It’s the first time in a while that I’ve been out of the England stuff, so I made a conscious effort to get out (to Australia) and do it my way, the way I’d wanted to do it.
“I really attacked my fitness, and within that I made sure I bowled a lot of overs and worked hard on my batting.
“I’ve also targeted my white ball stuff this winter.
“I played club cricket for Mosman and trained with New South Wales. It was a good time for me.
“I spent a bit of time with Nathan Lyon twice. Those opportunities are gold dust. I also spent some time with Steve O’Keefe, who is actually at the same club as Mickey (Edwards) at Manly.
“Our coach at Mosman was Peter Forrest, the ex-Australia and Queensland batter. He was really good for me as well. We had a lot of good conversations.”
On the changes to his action, Bess said: “If you looked at me, you wouldn’t really see much with the naked eye. But there’s been quite a lot going on.
“The main thing I’ve worked on is my front arm to try and get a bit more of a snap to my action, to try and get the ball dipping and with more revs on it.
“It’s not 100 percent there, but I’d like to think that come Leicestershire it will be.
“It’s obviously a challenge bowling spin in April, especially at Headingley. But we’ve seen before that it can spin here. Jack Leech got a 10-for in the Test Match here last year.
“We’ve got an amazing seam attack, but if it spins I’d like to think that myself, Shutty and Jafer can come into the mix and really contribute.”
When Leicestershire visit Headingley on Thursday for the Championship opener, Bess will come up against a good mate in Foxes left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson.
“I haven’t seen Call for a bit, and I’m close to Matt as well.
“Growing up through the age-groups with Devon, I’d always play a lot against those two because Lancashire had a very good side. It will be nice to see Call and talk some spin.
“It should be a good game, and we can’t wait to get going.”