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Dom Bess opens up on struggles with mental health

Bess mental health
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Opening up on his struggles with mental health that escalated in 2018, England spinner Dom Bess said that going from an international player to being a part of the Somerset second XI was a blow he couldn’t deal with.

Bess was called up for the home Test series against Pakistan in May-June 2018 and picked up three wickets, in addition to notching up scores of 57 and 49.

However, he wasn’t England’s first-choice spinner by any means, and when he was overlooked for the India series later that year, as England went with Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, Bess was out of the national team as quickly as he found himself in it.

Stingingly for Bess, he wasn’t even first-choice in Somerset, who preferred Jack Leach over him. “I went from playing for England to not even getting in the Somerset side,” Bess said in an interview with The Sun. “I’d been struggling at the end of the 2018 season and spoke to Tres [Marcus Trescothick] about things.

“Then last year I went back on loan to Yorkshire. I loved my time there but I wasn’t ever really at home because I’d been away in the winter of 2018-19 with the England Lions. So I’d reached the point where I was working hard but not getting games, or having to go elsewhere for games.

“It was the build-up over several years, trying to get better, putting everything into it. I’d played for England but now couldn’t see where I was going.”

Bess recalled that things reached a boiling point during a Division One County Championship match against Yorkshire in September 2019, when he broke down in front of the team’s psychologist while waiting for his turn to bat.

“Everything had got on top of me. I’d been struggling for a long time, bottling it up, and it had started affecting my personal life. I was chatting to him for a long time. It felt like five minutes but it was probably more than an hour. I was in a state, unleashing everything, talking about my struggles, getting into the spiral.

“All of a sudden we were four down and I had to strap on my pads. It all came out in that game. I was playing but wasn’t really in it because of my head.”

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