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Reaction – Dom Bess T20 Loan

OK, it came as a bit of a shock to many but, I am not being smug here, not so much to me. There had been something blowing in the wind for a couple of weeks and I’m glad it is now clarified.

Heading North – Dom Bess is joining Yorkshire Vikings on loan for the start of the T20 Blast

The facts are that Dom Bess will be part of the Yorkshire Vikings T20 squad for the first 10 group games. Note importantly that he will return to Somerset in time for the next Championship game at Edgbaston on 18th August.

Whether he will return to Yorkshire should they make the quarter-finals / finals day, or if there is a clause that should this happen he could not play against Somerset is not clear. But its is worth pointing out that the return Championship game with Yorkshire at Taunton is immediately after the quarter-finals.

There is clearly worry that Bess, with one year left on his Somerset contract at the end of this season is being wooed by Yorkshire and that his long-term future may lie there. Somerset supporters remember all too well the Jos Buttler / Craig Kieswetter situation and how that ended, we want to avoid a repeat with our two international spinners.

A sensible analysis of the situation needs to take three different standpoints; the players, Somerset’s and Yorkshire’s.

From Dom’s point of view, he will be aware that he is third or fourth in the pecking order of T20 spinners at the club. He has openly stated that he wants to reclaim not only his regular Somerset first-team spot but also his England place. Good for him, such ambition should be applauded.

His quote on the YCCC website that he has to,”look at his personal development” and adds that he sees this loan spell as a, “great opportunity for me.” He is returning to an environment he knows from his earlier loan spell, one he clearly enjoyed and fitted in well with, something which should not be ignored. Dom wants to prove his value in T20 cricket, remember he has not played a single T20 game for Somerset. If he demonstrates at Yorkshire what he is capable of that, bluntly increases the strength of his negotiating position next year.

From Somerset’s point of view this is a demonstration of their desire to help the player achieve his personal goals. Loan spells, probably because of football, carry the connotation of the player not being wanted. Somerset’s use of loans this season could not be more diametrically opposite. Both Dom and Jamie benefitted from their time away and have come back to be integral parts of the Championship side.

Better to have Dom “giving it a go” than playing second XI cricket and hanging around Taunton as a bit of a pare part for a month. The willingness on Somerset’s part to allow Bess to return to Yorkshire also. I believe, shows Somerset’s confidence in the strength of their relationship with the player. There will have been long hours of discussion among the management team and with the player before this decision was reached. And Dom will be well aware of how highly Somerset value him and want him.

The fact that the loan is for the first phase of the T20 only and that Bess will return for the next Championship game clearly demonstrates the primacy of Somerset’s ambitions in that competition and the key role Bess is expected to play in the four-day run-in.

Speaking to the BBC Yorkshire’s Jonathan Doidge for our preview piece ahead of the Yorkshire game it is clear that Dom made a very good impression at Headingley. He is a known quantity in terms of personality and fit into the squad but there is an element of a gamble for the White Rose simply because Bess has absolutely no track record in T20 cricket.

And of course, Yorkshire will see this loan as doing their chances of, should Bess decide to leave Somerset at the end of next season, joining them on a permanent basis.

But, on the whole I see this as a very imaginative and far-sighted move for all three parties and wholeheartedly throw my support behind the move.

It also makes the trip to Leeds at the weekend even more interesting!