Dom Bess will be 'more than ready to go' if selected for fourth Test - Jack Leach
Jeetan Patel says offspinner is in 'good spirits' and ready to return after being dropped
Jack Leach and Jeetan Patel have backed Dom Bess to recover from the disappointment of being dropped and play a major role if selected for England's fourth Test in India as they look to square the series 2-2.
Bess took 17 wickets at 22.75 across both of England's Tests in Sri Lanka and the first Test in Chennai - all three of which England won - but was left out of the side for the second Chennai Test with Moeen Ali preferred, and was again omitted in the third Test at Ahmedabad as England opted for a seam-heavy line-up.
England are unlikely to consider either of the back-up spinners in their touring group for the final Test, with Matt Parkinson and Amar Virdi still categorised as 'reserves' after Mason Crane flew home before the start of the third Test. As a result, Bess will be in line for a recall if they decide to revert to a side with two frontline spin options, having relied on Joe Root's part-time offbreaks last week.
Patel, who was unveiled as England's full-time spin-bowling coach on Monday having travelled to Asia in a consultancy role, said that Bess was in "very good spirits" despite his disappointment at missing out on selection.
"I think Dom's pretty good," Patel said. "I spoke to him yesterday and he's in a very good state, actually. He knows that this last Test match is a big Test match for England: to go 2-2 in this series, through four Test matches, would be a fantastic effort.
"I think he's in very good spirits. It's fair to say he was a bit disappointed he wasn't selected in that third Test that's just gone, but the feeling was that the pink ball would react differently and it didn't go the way we thought it would go. We had a plan and it didn't quite work, so that's okay."
Leach, Bess' long-term team-mate at Somerset before their respective breakthroughs for England, said that he had encouraged Bess to view being dropped as an opportunity to learn and get better.
"Dom's worked hard: he's been working hard in the nets and he's a great character, and he will see it as a good learning experience," Leach said. "I'm sure if called upon in this last Test he'll be more than ready to go.
"From my experience, whenever I've had a low moment it's always turned out to be a good thing, I think. It's all about how you view that low moment: it's not nice at the time but if you approach cricket in the right way then I think good things can come from it. That's definitely what we're talking about and how we're thinking."
Leach, who has taken twice as many wickets in the series (16 at 26.75) as any other England bowler, said that his performances against some of the world's best players of spin provided a major boost to his confidence after a year out of the Test side.
"This series has given me a lot of confidence in general," he said. "The guys you are bowling against are world-class batters and playing them in their own backyard I feel it's a challenging experience. I feel like I've stood up to that pretty well and got some good wickets and it is a confidence boost.
"I don't think I could really have expected much more of myself than how I've done and how I've got better through the tour. It has given me a lot of confidence that I can go on and play a lot for England and that I'm going to get better and better.
"My belief in myself is more than it has been in the past, and again, doing it out here in India against some top batters has given me lots of confidence. I know I still have lots of hard work to do but I've seen how I can come back from disappointment or tough times in games and put in good performances. That's more pleasing to me than having it all my own way and bowling sides out."
Patel and Leach also talked up Root's credentials as an offspinner, after his haul of 5 for 8 in the first innings of the third Test. "Nicked a five-for off me, didn't he?" Leach joked. "He bowled really well and he's a really good offspin bowler. I think he should definitely think of himself as a genuine option."
Patel added: "If you take two frontline spinners in Leach and Bess, you know you have Root to then break that up. It is on Rooty himself to say 'I can bowl, I can offer'. I think he has got a huge offering in that line-up, because he gets the ball to arrive differently and at a different pace and he gets it to do different things. In some ways, he is different to the other two.
"The one thing that Rooty has is a fantastic mind for cricket. He understands batting techniques, pitches, the flow of the game. And so to be able to use those skills as well as some spin skill that he has - when I say some, he's still advancing his spin skill as well - coupled with his knowledge of the game… he's got a lot to offer this group."
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98