Former England spinner Monty Panesar is fearful that the India series might have shattered Dom Bess’ confidence, and thus wants the youngster to immediately seek the help of his former mentor Rangana Hearth. Panesar, at the same time, insisted it will be important for Bess to not overanalyze.
What started as a fairytale ended as a nightmare for Dom Bess as the England off-spinner, after being able to do no wrong in the first innings of the first Test against India, ended the series as someone who struggled to land the ball on the pitch. Through the course of the series, the 23-year-old lost his line, length, and confidence and turned out to be a liability for the visitors in the final Test, which they might very well have won had Bess been at his dazzling best.
Being at the receiving end of such humiliation could be soul-crushing, and so former England spinner Monty Panesar has advised young Bess to immediately seek help. Panesar, writing for The Telegraph, claimed that he fears that the nightmare-ish series against India could end up shattering Bess’ confidence, and so advised the 23-year-old to immediately get in touch with his former mentor Rangana Herath. Two years ago Bess worked in a spin camp with Herath in Mumbai, a trip that turned the career of the young off-spinner around.
“As for Bess, this is now a test of his mentality, as much as his ability. As cricketers, we’re wired to experience incredible success and failure but when you lose control of your line and length - such a fundamental skill for a bowler - the consequences can be devastating. You get hit by this gut-wrenching pain, utter lethargy, and feel completely alone. This is my fear for Bess. He must turn to people who know his bowling well and who have seen him bowl at this best,” Panesar wrote in his column for the Telegraph.
“I remember coaching Bess for the England Under-19s. Back then, what I noticed about his bowling was the pace and the energy he was getting on the ball. But when you are playing in sub-continent conditions the style must change - you need to bowl slightly slower and flight the ball more. I would ask him the question: what did you learn from watching the Ravi Ashwin bowl? I hope he has the phone number of Rangana Hearth, who worked with him ahead of the successful Test series in South Africa. He needs to talk to him and ask: ‘Why did I bowl well there, what kind of training did we do and what did we discuss about my bowling action?’.”
At the same time, Panesar insisted that it would be imperative for the young off-spinner to not overthink and overanalyze. Panesar said that Bess would immediately benefit from taking considerable time off from the game to refresh and reset himself mentally.
“As a cricketer when things go wrong it is best to clear the mind. He shouldn't over-analyse what happened during the India tour, but if he was to watch footage of himself, he should watch himself getting Virat Kolhi out in the first Test. That ball started outside off stump, drifted in and was caught short leg.
“Initially, though, he should have a few weeks away from the game. It will help him to heal his mind and when he starts at Yorkshire next month it will be a fresh start. No matter how low you get, you can always begin again.”
An advantage for Bess is that age is on his side - he is only 23 - and he is pretty much in the embryonic stages, thus giving him a good opportunity to work on his game and stage a comeback. But more than what Bess does, Panesar reckoned that it would be of paramount importance for the English captain Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood to nurture and manage the young off-spinner cautiously.
“Managing Bess will be a test of Joe Root's captaincy and Chris Silverwood's coaching. I have been there when a squad has been drained by losing, and players have lost their confidence - it can be heartbreaking. I think the two of them - and Jeetan Patel, the spin coach - ought to have a meeting with Bess to discuss what works for him and what doesn't.”