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Dom Bess admits being dropped by England was 'tough pill to swallow'

Dom Bess has admitted he was caught off guard by his England dropping and found his spell on the sidelines a “tough pill to swallow”.

The off-spinner is a near certainty to return to England’s XI for Thursday’s fourth and final Test against India in Ahmedabad, with the tourists already accepting they got things wrong by relying on seam in their two-day defeat on the same ground last week.

Bess claimed 17 wickets in his first three matches of the winter – two against Sri Lanka and the series-opening victory in Chennai – but struggled for consistency at times and sent down a number of full tosses in an uncertain final spell. He was initially replaced by Moeen Ali, but was overlooked once again as England made an ill-fated decision to gamble on pace for the day/night match.

Bess is known for his ebullient mindset and self-belief, qualities his team-mates will hope have not been damaged by events of the past fortnight as they look for a win that would square the series at 2-2. “It was certainly a tough pill to swallow. I didn’t see it round the corner,” the 23-year-old said of his axing. “Personally, I didn’t think I needed it but, as time went on, it was probably the best option.

“I do think a lot about the game. I’m always trying to get better, whether thinking about it or doing it physically. So the hardest part for me was getting away from it and I guess the management did it for me. It has freshened me up, I’ve thought about things and then had time to work on it.

Asked if he was now ready to step back into the breach against buoyant opponents who have a place in the World Test Championship final to play for, Bess added: “I certainly am. It’s a massive honour to play for your country. I’ll always give my all.”

Meanwhile, Joe Root has reported no sickness concerns on the eve of facing India following a bug that has hit several members of the touring camp. Preparations have been slightly disrupted by illness but there was a near full-house at the optional net session on Wednesday, with three members of the pace attack choosing to do fitness work at the team base.

“Everyone is fit and available,” said England’s captain. “Hopefully that stays the case and everyone is available for the game, but we’ll give ourselves a bit more time in terms of naming a squad.”

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