DOM Bess is strengthening links with his new county by working closely with a Yorkshireman on his development as an off-spinner.

The White Rose county’s newest recruit, on a four-year contract from Somerset, has been working extensively with ex-England offie Richard Dawson for the last 12 months, both at home and abroad.

Bess has forged a strong relationship with Yorkshire’s former spinner and second-team coach and believes Gloucestershire’s current head coach will be a crucial part of his development for both county and country.

“It was only around this time last year that we properly met when we went away to India on an England spin bowling camp,” said Bess.

“We’d only briefly crossed paths beforehand.

“We would see each other at Somerset v Gloucester T20 games when I was 12th man, and I would say, ‘Hi’. But that India trip, we had five weeks together, and we got on straightaway.

“He was then the England Lions coach in Australia when I went there from the Test tour of South Africa at the start of the year.

“He was also with us during the Test summer and also beforehand when Somerset and Gloucestershire linked up as part of the return to training following Covid. He came down and helped myself and Jack Leach.

“Me not being up at Yorkshire and having the time to train with the lads this winter, it’s also been really valuable for me to have time with him at Bristol.

“It’s been continual progress with him, which is great.”

Doncaster-born Dawson spent six seasons in and around Yorkshire’s first team between 2001 and 2006 before moving away for greater opportunity, playing for Northants and Gloucester.

He also played seven Tests for England before returning to Emerald Headingley as second-team coach for just a year at the start of 2014.

He was then appointed as Gloucester head coach in early 2015. He has also worked within the England system as a specialist spin bowling coach and is one of the most highly respected young coaches in the country.

“It’s his understanding and game awareness that I really relate to,” explained Bess. “He loves spin bowling and thinking about it.

“I get on really well with him because he’s very black and white - he tells it how it is. We have great, honest conversations about my development and where I can go and what I need to get done.

“He’s not afraid of telling me what I need to do to improve.

“He talks a lot about what he would have done with his England career had he be given a second chance, and I think he sees the journey that I’ve been on within him to a degree.

“For me, that’s really good, and he’s someone I can tap into.”

Bess is currently preparing for a busy start to the New Year having been selected in England’s Test squad for a two-match series in Sri Lanka between January 14-26. They then have a four-match series in India in February and March.