Somerset have confirmed that Dom Bess will leave the club at the end of the 2020 season having declined a contract extension, with England’s incumbent Test spinner reportedly set to join Yorkshire.
Bess made his first-class debut for Somerset in 2016 but has had to make do with limited opportunities due to the presence of Jack Leach, also a rival for the England berth. Bess went out on loan to Yorkshire during the 2019 season, and then subsequently shot back into contention for the Test side after being called up as cover for the winter tour of South Africa.
He played in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, where he took a maiden five-wicket haul, and then featured ahead of Leach in all six behind-closed-doors Tests this summer – although twice was not required to bowl.
However, with left-armer Leach still first choice at Somerset, Bess has opted to move on in search of first-team cricket, leaving behind the Taunton pitches that encouraged both players’ development. Overall, he claimed 79 first-class wickets at 27.29 for Somerset, but only featured in three List A games and once in T20.
“This is not a decision that I’ve taken lightly,” Bess said. “I’ve been with Somerset since joining the Academy, I’ve grown up here and some of my best friends are in the team with me.
“It’s been a really hard decision. There were good discussions with the club and they offered a contract extension, however I think it’s the right decision in terms of needing first-team opportunities. Given the direction that I want to go with my cricket I think it’s time to move on.
“I want to thank the Somerset fans for everything they’ve done in terms of supporting me and the whole team when we’re out on the pitch. That’s always meant a lot to me. Somerset is a special place and hopefully I can help to play a part in the team being even more successful before I leave.”
With his contract due to expire, Bess had attracted interest from Warwickshire, while Yorkshire’s coach, Andrew Gale, said last year that they were keen to make the signing permanent. Should Bess, who has 19 wickets at 40.57 from his ten Tests, win an England central contract then his new club would not have to carry him on their wage bill.