By RICHARD WALSH
Dom Bess is back in Taunton taking stock of his cricketing career after a remarkable few weeks in the West Indies with the England Lions and the MCC.
Bess, who is still only 20, hit his maiden First Class century against Essex for the MCC in their annual match against the champion county.
Somerset’s young all-rounder then took six wickets for 51 runs to set MCC on course for victory and put himself in the thoughts of the England selectors.
Damp and dismal Taunton is a far cry from Antiqua, where Bess was playing in the North versus South series with Somerset colleague Jack Leach before moving on to Barbados for the MCC’s match against Essex.
However, Bess is happy to be home and preparing for the start of the domestic season with Somerset.
“It is good to have had my first hit outside on the grass in England, which was a bit different to batting at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown,” said Bess, whose cricket career started with Sidmouth and has taken him via Blundell's School 1st XI, Exeter CC and the Devon side into professional cricket.
“It was lovely to have been able to go out to the West Indies with the Lions and to spend the first part of the trip with Jack Leach.
“I was out there for two months and in the end I think I was the only one who did the whole trip, which was good for me as I got the chance to play in front of the selectors and showcase my skills.
“I had to wait quite a while for my first four-dayer for the England Lions in the third ‘Test’, which was good for me because all the hard work I had put in started to come off, which was good for me.”
Talking about his bowling he said: “The ball felt nice out of my hand when I was bowling and fielding and then in the last game I got a century, which was really nice for me before coming back here.”
Now that he has scored a century, does Bess think it will change the way he is categorized as a cricketer?
“I would like to be known as an all rounder – a bowler who can bat and score centuries – that’s how I want people to think of me looking forwards,” said Bess.
“This Somerset squad is very strong and being able to offer something with bat and ball will help me to force my way into the side.
“I see myself very much as a three-dimensional cricketer pushing that way.
“It was nice to get that century and hopefully that will just the start of many more to come for me.”
What about white-ball cricket?
“I also want to put my case forward at Somerset now to play one-day cricket and it was great to have my opportunities in the West Indies to be able to showcase what I am capable of with the white ball, with my batting and my fielding as well,” said Bess.
“Fingers crossed the selectors at Somerset will have noticed what I have done and I might get a crack.”
Looking ahead Bess said: “I am now looking forward to a massive season ahead and its nice to come back into the environment here where there is a lot of energy and positivity floating around which is always good.”
Bess added: “Seeing youngsters like Tom Banton and Fin Trenouth coming up from the Academy, along with myself, Ben Green and Ollie Sale who also came through the system here is always good, we know each other and each other’s games very well.
“It should be a very exciting summer for us all.”