England news November 24, 2015

'I knew England was a write-off' - Ansari

ESPNcricinfo staff

Zafar Ansari is refusing to dwell on what might have been. But for a badly broken thumb, he could have made a Test debut in Sharjah and now be booked on a flight to South Africa.

Instead, he remains in London recovering from surgery on the injury he sustained during the Championship match against Lancashire, just hours after his call-up for England's Test squad to face Pakistan.

He is currently wearing a new splint on his left thumb which suffered an open dislocation as he continues "slow progress" towards full fitness having been ruled out of joining the England Performance Programme camp in Dubai he was due to be part of following the Test series against Pakistan.

"I almost knew immediately that the England stuff was a write-off," Ansari told Surrey TV. "There have been opportunities that I've missed which is disappointing but hopefully they come again.

"It's going to be a slow process but it's nice to have got that moving and be looking forward. Obviously at the time it's frustrating but you are thinking more about the health of your thumb in general and the long-term.

"When I did it I over-reacted with 'that's the worst injury I've ever seen', I was more concerned about the thumb. I want to make sure I get it right now, thumbs are very important for cricketers and also just for living. My priority quite quickly was to do what was right for my thumb and let the cricket take care of itself."

Ansari's England call-up had come on the back of a Championship season where he scored 771 runs at 36.71 and took 44 wickets at 30.97 with his ever-improving left-arm spin. It was his bowling success which helped tip the scales in his favour for selection and he enjoyed being involved in all aspects of the game.

"I want to be involved. What was different last season was I felt I was a genuine bowler and that increases my stock for England but it also just makes cricket more fun."

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  • ian on November 25, 2015, 7:15 GMT

    Predictably, a rational and realistic reaction to a nasty injury from the highly intelligent Zafar! He sees cricket in the context of his life, not his life in the context of his sporting career. Nonetheless, it's a shame that he couldn't have crowned a season of considerable progress, especially as a left-arm spinner, with a berth on the England tours. Right now, let's hope his thumb recovers completely: without a fully functioning thumb he may find that he has to adapt his hand/wrist action to generate sufficient revolutions on the ball. We can but wait and see - while wishing him well as he continues his rehab. If it is meant to be, he will play for England at some point fairly soon. Good luck, ZA! ( Thank you to Mark Church and others at SCCC for making this information available. I had been wondering about Zafar's progress.)

  • percy on November 25, 2015, 3:56 GMT

    The title of this is somewhat of a poor choice in words. :-0

  • John on November 25, 2015, 2:00 GMT

    Hopefully his thumb heals completely and he can resume his quest for an England career. Let's face it, if Samit Patel is his competition as a left-arm spinner he has every chance of making the squad.

    My only reservation is the scrutiny his action will get at test level. I've only seen him bowl a couple of times, but some of his deliveries seemed to me to involve a fair amount of 'flexing'.

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