FORMER England spinner Phil Tufnell has urged Somerset duo Dom Bess and Jack Leach to keep knocking on the international door with their county performances this summer.

It promises to be a huge year for England’s cricketers as they attempt to win the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup on home soil before taking on bitter rivals Australia for Ashes glory.

Both Somerset off-spinner Bess and slow left-arm bowler Leach made their Test debuts for England last year and are among the four contenders for the spinners berth this summer.

And while former England bowler Tufnell expects the more experienced Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali to be the frontrunners to start, he believes Bess and Leach could still have a role to play.

“It’s always good to have people like Dom Bess and Jack Leach just in case people get injured or something but Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali will be starting in the World Cup for sure,” he said.

“Jack bowled nicely in the Test matches against Sri Lanka and I do see a bigger role for him in the Test side this year, especially as the wickets start to turn a little bit.

“If we have a nice hot summer, I can definitely see him coming into it for sure and England might even play two spinners in the Test team depending on the pitches.

“It’s difficult as a spin bowler when you have such a strong side. You have to try and get your way in, but he has impressed when he has been given a chance.

“He has had to bide his time, though, and he had that thumb injury that put him back a little bit just as he was starting to make a little bit of a name for himself in the Test match side.

“He just has to keep going and take his opportunity when it comes along, but every time he has played he hasn’t let anyone down at all.”

Bess, 21, played in the drawn two-Test series against Pakistan last summer after being the beneficiary of the broken thumb sustained by county colleague Leach.

But despite scoring a half-century with the bat at Lord’s to prevent England suffering a defeat, he lacked penetration with the ball – and Tufnell insists he just needs to keep plugging away.

“You just have to keep going if you’re Dom Bess,” he said.

“You have your chance, things don’t quite work out and then you just have to keep going back to county cricket.

“He just has to keep performing and knocking on the door, that’s all he can do, but I’m pretty sure Eoin Morgan and the England hierarchy know the XI and there are only a few spots up for grabs.”

Tufnell was speaking at the unveiling of a bespoke mural next to Bargate Monument in Southampton as part of the latest leg of the ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour.

Each of the ten host cities will be installing a mural in an iconic location, showing what makes their respective city unique, to coincide with the arrival of the trophy.

Fans will be in with a chance of winning tickets to an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 fixture at their local venue by sharing the murals on social media with a specific hashtag for each city.

And while Tufnell predicts England can go all the way this summer in the tournament, he admits Bess and Leach will have to go some for their county to dislodge Ali and Rashid in the team.

“I think Ali and Rashid are frontrunners, I think they are pencilled in for the World Cup squad,” added Tufnell. “Trevor Bayliss and the others will roughly know their starting XI.

“I think it’s now just a case of a little bit of jockeying for position, but I think England are pretty well set and those two guys are likely to be the main two spinners.

“Obviously if you can put in some performances, someone like Jack Leach could make an impression, but I think Ali and Rashid are pretty much penned in to the starting XI.”

ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour, driven by Nissan, commences 100-day tour of England and Wales and will be at over 100 locations and events before arriving back in London ready for the opening match on May 30