Bazball has changed county cricket – we know how we need to play, says Dom Bess

Dom Bess of Yorkshire in hits out during the Metro Bank One Day Cup match between Middlesex and Yorkshire Vikings at Radlett Cricket Club on August 22, 2023 in Radlett, England
Dom Bess: 'When you want to get close to that England team, you’ve you’ve got to do the things that they are wanting to do' - Clive Rose/Getty Images

The last time England were in India, Dom Bess was in their squad. Now, he is working to “reinvent” himself at Yorkshire, but he has seen the impact of Ben Stokes’s England revolution in county cricket – and as far afield as Zimbabwe.

Bess recently returned from a spell playing in the Logan Cup, Zimbabwe’s first-class competition, as he looks to work on his game after a tough summer with Yorkshire. Playing for Southern Rocks, he scored 544 runs at 49, often battling No 3, and took 13 wickets.

While Bess played the last of his 14 Tests in 2021, he says all domestic players are aware of the need to play in the style wanted by Stokes’s team.

“It comes back to enjoying the cricket and, that I think that’s a non-negotiable,” he told the Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club Podcast. “Certainly County Championship teams are trying to play like that. Now obviously Championship wickets, aren’t as good as Test wickets so there is that challenge there.

“But it’s funny even out in Zimbabwe, [former Yorkshire bowler] Steve Kirby was coach, we had Eddie Byrom, who is at Glamorgan, myself, a couple of Zimbabwe lads as well. We played a team called the Tuskers and they started calling us Bazball because we were going at five an over.

“I guess the emphasis of myself and Eddie out there, we know how we want to play our cricket now. And I guess when you want to get close to that England team, you’ve got to do the things that they are wanting to do as well. So it’s been a great learning curve, and it’s also quite good fun [playing that way].”

Bess says the removal of the fear of failure stands out. “From the outside, it just looks like pressure’s taking off and they’re enjoying it,” he said. “And they’re not scared of losing. That was, I guess, my England career. I always sort of had one over my shoulder thinking, you’re playing for your place. You’re under pressure. It was never that, ‘go out and express yourself and back yourself’.

“They’re just playing. They know they’re going to have a spot. They know they’re going to have a chance and a run. And I think you’re seeing the massive benefits from this now.”

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