England have added spinner Dom Bess to their squad for the second Test against New Zealand that begins here on June 10. The 23-year-old off-spinner, who last played a Test in March, against India in Ahmedabad where he returned wicketless, has been called up as cover for left-arm spinner Jack Leach.
“The reason we have added Dom is that any cover we may need has to be in here with us. If Jack was to feature, we would need back-up for him in terms of concussion replacements and things like that,” said England coach Chris Silverwood to media.
Bess, who arrived in Birmingham on Sunday night, will be able to train with the squad on Wednesday following two days of managed isolation and testing.
“If we are looking at playing a spinner and Jack were to get injured leading into the game, then we will need someone else there as well. It’s making sure we cover that,” added Silverwood.
Bess has picked 36 wickets in 14 Test matches with five-wicket hauls and an equal number of four-wicket hauls.
Although the England coach isn’t sure if the Edgbaston pitch will help spinners, he said that he wants every base covered.
“Are we expecting a spinning wicket? We will see when we get there, but I’m making sure we’ve got every base covered,” said Silverwood.
The first Test at Lord’s ended in a draw after England, asked to chase 273 in 75 overs to win, ended at 170 for three wickets. England had gone without a spinner with skipper Joe Root filling the gap with his off-spin.
England may pick a spinner for second Test not just because the surface has helped slow bowlers in recent times but also because of their slow over-rate in first Test that led to a fine.