CRICKET star Dom Bess was on a shopping trip with his girlfriend when he learned of his England call-up.
The Somerset and Devon spinner, who has played for Exeter for the past two season, has been named in England’s 12-man squad for the first Test against Pakistan starting at Lord’s next Thursday.
Bess, 20, took the call from new national selector Ed Smith as a lifelong dream of playing for the Three Lions moved closer to reality.
“I was in IKEA with my girlfriend. I’ve just bought a house so we were looking at furniture having a browse, then Ed phoned me up!” Smith said.
“I didn’t have his number so I didn’t know who it was. He told me that I’d been included and all I said was ‘wow’! I didn’t have any other words, I couldn’t believe it.
“Alex Davies from Lancashire played a prank on me earlier in the day and pretended he was in the squad, so I thought I must have missed out as I hadn’t heard anything.
“I’m only 20 but it’s something I’ve always dreamed about since I was a child. I’d wear the Three Lions supporting them as a kid and pretend to play for England when I played with my cousins and granddad.”
Those cousins are Devon captain Josh and his brothers Zac and Luke, who all play for Sidmouth.
Dad Russell and uncle Graham played cricket for Sidmouth. Both were no-nonsense forwards in Exeter rugby sides of the 1980s.
Dom’s late granddad Gerald was a stalwart of the Sidmouth club until is death in 2007. Dom’s first England shirt is proudly on display in the Fortfield pavilion.
Bess was included in the squad after Somerset team-mate Jack Leach sustained a broken thumb on Monday.
The Exeter-born off-spinner caught the eye during the England Lions’ winter tours of Australia and West Indies, taking 5-88 in his first Lions appearance in Antigua before starring with bat and ball in the MCC's win over Essex in the County Champion match in Barbados.
Bess has played 16 first-class matches and was impressive in the Champion County match for the MCC against Essex in March where he took eight wickets in the match and scored a valuable century in defeating the County Champions in Barbados.
Commenting on the selection of Bess, National Selector Ed Smith, said: “Dom Bess has made an excellent start to his first-class career.
“He has impressed everyone with his performances for Somerset and when he has been given opportunities with England representative teams.
“With Jack Leach missing out due to injury, the selection panel wanted to invest opportunity in a young spin bowler. Dom's strong form, character and all-round abilities presented a compelling case for selection.”