Bess surprised by call for North-South series in West Indies after Lions tour

Dom Bess - additional opportunity for the Exeter and Somerset spinner

OFF-spinning all-rounder Dom Bess will have an extended stay in the Caribbean after the England Lions tour ends.

Somerset staffer Bess has been named in the squads for the North-versus-South series of matches that will follow the Lions tour.

The squads include 15 players already selected for the Lions tour – Bess is one of them. The series will follow the one-day section of that tour.

Dom BessThe matches will be staged in Barbados in March with the sides being skippered by Steven Mullaney and Sam Northeast.

The teams will each play a warm-up game on March 15 before the three-match series at the Kensington Oval on March 18, 21 and 23.

The Kensington Oval will also stage the MCC’s Champion County match against Essex from March 27-30 in a spring festival of English cricket in Barbados.

The North-versus-South series has become an unofficial trial for potential England players.

Bess, who plays for Exeter and Devon when his Somerset and England commitments allow, said he was ‘surprised’ to be named in the South squad.

 “I was a bit surprised when I got the call to be honest, but obviously this is a great opportunity for me to show what I can do with the white ball,” said Bess.

“There are some really good players in the squads and it’s a great chance to rub shoulders with a lot of different lads.

“The conditions out there are different to over here and hopefully it’ll spin a bit but I’m just delighted to have been given this opportunity.”

James Whitaker, the National Selector who finalised the squads after discussions with coaches Paul Collingwood and Mark Ramprakash, his fellow selectors Angus Fraser and Mick Newell, and the England and Lions coaching staff, said: “We believe these are two exciting squads which again underline the value of this North-South Series as an opportunity for us to see some strong contenders for white-ball cricket playing at a higher level of competition and intensity.

“The unavailability of several of the players who had earned automatic invitations means the squads are tilted more towards youth and potential this year.

“The North squad has six players aged 21 or under, and the South squad includes four 20-year-olds plus Sam Curran, who is still only 19.

“Some of the players we have selected have very limited List A experience with their counties, but in those cases their potential has already been identified with selection on the ECB’s International Pathway.

“It is also a good opportunity for more experienced players who have impressed in the county game to show the selectors and England coaches what they can do at a higher level.”