England off-spinner Dom Bess, speaking to Sky Sports Cricket after the end of day four of the Southampton Test, talked about his specific role in the bowling attack, and explained why he insists on keeping a deep point off his bowling.
Bess, the lone spinner in the England line-up, picked up two wickets in West Indies’ first-innings total of 318, following which the hosts collected a 170-run lead by the end of the day’s play. When asked if the field placements off his bowling are his idea or that of skipper Ben Stokes, Dom Bess said that he discusses his plans with the others, keeping multiple factors in mind.
“I think it’s a real bit of both, to be honest. I think I chat with Stokesy [Ben Stokes], Jos [Buttler] behind the stumps and just make sure we get the right field.
“I do quite a lot of video analysis, making sure I actually watch these lads and how they shape up and I also have to take into account what day it is, obviously, how many overs been on the wicket, and what my role is, and I think it’s been really good actually with this group, whole group of bowling attack.
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“We always chat about what our role is, and I know for me, at that time, it was trying to go probably at two and a half, make sure I dry up an end and let the lads obviously fire in and have good, quick spells, and with myself, I can just keep it tight and pick up an odd wicket.”
Speaking about keeping a traditionally defensive deep point position off his bowling, Bess explained how it is actually an “attacking option” for him, given his bowling role.
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“So, for me, I just hate when I sort of go away for four and it’s a loose ball,” Bess said. “Again, I come back to my role, I want to be going at two and a half, and also if I have got deep point and they want to open the face and try and get one, it brings Stokesy into it, it brings Jos into it; if it spins, actually brings [Ollie] Pope into it as well.
“So, I see it as quite an attacking option. Also, if it is a bad ball, it can go for one, and again, I mean, it’s one run instead of four runs, it’s little things like that.”