Dom Bess insists he's 'certainly' ready for fourth Test after omission for England defeats

Bess admits being dropped was 'a tough pill to swallow' after role in Chennai win

George Dobell
George Dobell
Dom Bess looks set to play in the fourth Test  •  BCCI

Dom Bess looks set to play in the fourth Test  •  BCCI

Dom Bess has admitted that being dropped from the England team was "a tough pill to swallow" but said that he accepted, in retrospect, that it might have been the best thing for him.
Bess claimed five wickets in the first Test of England's series in India and said he did not see his omission from the next game coming. But while he said it has been "tough" to watch the last couple of Tests - in which spin bowling has played a prominent role - from the sidelines, he also admitted that the break has "freshened" him and was "probably the best option."
Although Bess claimed five wickets in the first Test, he also struggled with his length and delivered several full tosses. The England management subsequently concluded that, as an inexperienced 23-year-old who had played three Tests in the previous month, he was exhibiting signs of both mental and physical tiredness, and replaced him with Moeen Ali for the second Test.
But with every chance of winning a recall, Bess insisted that he is "ready" and "in a great space right now" ahead of Thursday's fourth and final Test in Ahmedabad.
"It was certainly a tough pill to swallow," Bess said about his omission ahead of the second Test. "I didn't see it round the corner. Personally, I didn't think I needed a break. But as time went on, it was probably the best option.
"I do think a lot about the game. I'm always trying to get better, whether thinking about the game or doing it physically. The hardest part for me was getting away from it.
"I guess the management sort of did it for me. It has freshened me up. I've thought about things and then had time to work on them. I look back over the period now and think it's actually been a real success heading into this last game. I was happy with that break."
Joe Root, England's captain, confirmed that Bess was being considered as a realistic option to return to the side. "He's been training really well," Root said. "He's used time out of game for the last two Tests to work on few things and he looks very good. He's practised hard and he's a very good character. If he gets a chance to play, I'm sure he'll be desperate to exploit the surface if it's anything like the last two games.
"Has his confidence been knocked? I don't think so. When you do get taken out of the side, it's really important you look to use the opportunity to evolve as a player and get better all the time. He's done that; he's used that time to work on his game and become a better player for it. I think that's exactly what you want from your players: you want them to go away and try and improve themselves."
Despite his disappointment in missing the last couple of matches, Bess was positive about both Moeen, who replaced him in the side, and the team's management.
"It was actually really nice to see Moeen come back into it and perform the way he did," Bess said. "He showed the qualities he has. He was quality with how he went about things. As a young spinner, learning from him was really important.
"It was a shame to miss out but it's part and parcel of sport. I had to look for opportunities to get better when I was out of the team. I had to come away from the main stage and look to improve. What was explained to me [was that the decision] was about looking ahead and things I could work on. I definitely took it in my stride in terms of opportunity.
"It's only little things I've been working on. It's making sure I'm in the groove with my timings and making sure my action is running as smoothly as possible. There's not been too much to search for. And having a bit of a break, as well. If you can, try to get away from it out here, which is hard to do. So, I could just freshen up and hopefully look forward to the last game."
While Bess said the tour, as a whole, has contained "positives and negatives", he also said that he had learned a great deal from the experience.
"It's been, at times, really exciting," he said. "It's been a massive learning curve with positives and negatives. I've certainly enjoyed bowling on spinning wickets. Potentially, at times, I need to improve and there have been tough times out here. Overall I've been pretty happy with how it has come out. But as a youngster, aged 23, I'm always trying to keep striving forward.
"Am I ready if I'm selected? I certainly am. I'm in a great space right now to 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 very exciting if I get the chance to head out with 10 other blokes to try to draw the series.
"To draw the series is so, so important. To come back from two heavy defeats would show a lot about our character. To potentially finish on a high and not lose a Test series out here would be a big achievement."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo