England v Pakistan - Men's
Test call-up's 'amazing moment in IKEA'
New England spinner reveals he was shopping for couches when England's new selector called him with good news
16 May 2018, 11:03 AM AEST
Most people would be happy for any distraction possible when shopping at IKEA, and Dom Bess got the best distraction of all as he was looking over couches at his local branch of the Swedish furniture retailer on Tuesday.
A phone call from new England selector Ed Smith confirming his maiden Test call-up.
The 20-year-old off-spinner was a shock inclusion for England's Test against Pakistan at Lord's later this month, but it was leather sofas rather than leather cricket balls that was front of mind when Smith phoned with the news.
"I've just got a new house so we were looking for some sofas and I was having an argument with my missus," a stunned Bess said.
"A number popped up (on my phone) so my girlfriend said 'take it, because you never know what could happen'. So I took it and the rest is history.
"Ed phoned me and it was an amazing moment in IKEA! For me it's just an amazing achievement. I couldn't quite believe it."
Good fortune as much as good form has earned Bess his maiden Test cap; his Somerset teammate Jack Leach had been expected to fill the spinner's role before he broke his thumb earlier this week.
With leg-spinner Mason Crane and left-armer Liam Dawson also sidelined by injury, the obvious option to replace Leach was 50-Test allrounder Moeen Ali, who was dropped after a horror Ashes campaign last Australian summer.
But Smith, in naming his first squad since taking over as chief selector, has boldly opted for Bess alongside a recall for damaging batsman Jos Buttler.
WICKET! Very casual from Dom Bess and not so casual from the umpire! Surrey 128/4#SURvSOM pic.twitter.com/TdIOFotZqM— Somerset Cricket 🏏 (@SomersetCCC) September 22, 2017
"An opportunity opened up for us to look at a new spinner," Smith said.
"Dom's had a terrific start to his career with bat, ball and as a character and he has grabbed his opportunities in representative teams."
Lovely delivery this from Dom Bess!! #SOMvLAN pic.twitter.com/FMvrui6cR2— Somerset Cricket 🏏 (@SomersetCCC) September 14, 2017
Having taken 33 wickets at 23 for Somerset last season, Bess pushed his name forward with a five-wicket haul for the England Lions against West Indies A last February and a match haul of 8-108 playing for the MCC against champions Essex in March.
But despite the injury to Leach, Bess had assumed selectors were looking elsewhere for their spinner.
"I assumed that they would have called last night if they were going to call, so I didn’t really think about it this morning," he said.
"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."
England will play Pakistan in Tests at Lord's (starting on May 24) and Headingley before the first of five Tests against India begins at Edgbaston on August 1.
England’s first Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.