Full name Zafar Shahaan Ansari
Born December 10, 1991, Ascot, Berkshire
Current age 25 years 135 days
Major teams Cambridge MCCU, England Under-19s, Surrey, Surrey 2nd XI, Surrey Under-13s, Surrey Under-15s, Surrey Under-17s, Surrey Under-19s
Playing role Allrounder
Batting style Left-hand bat
Bowling style Slow left-arm orthodox
Relation Brother - AS Ansari
|Test debut||Bangladesh v England at Dhaka, Oct 28-30, 2016 scorecard|
|Last Test||India v England at Visakhapatnam, Nov 17-21, 2016 scorecard|
|Only ODI||Ireland v England at Dublin (Malahide), May 8, 2015 scorecard|
|First-class debut||Cambridge MCCU v Essex at Cambridge, Apr 2-4, 2011 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Surrey v Lancashire at The Oval, Apr 14-17, 2017 scorecard|
|List A debut||Sussex v Surrey at Hove, Sep 4, 2010 scorecard|
|Last List A||Surrey v Warwickshire at Lord's, Sep 17, 2016 scorecard|
|Twenty20 debut||Surrey v Essex at The Oval, Jun 13, 2011 scorecard|
|Last Twenty20||Kent v Surrey at Tunbridge Wells, Jul 15, 2016 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|0/88, 3||Surrey||v Lancashire||The Oval||14 Apr 2017||FC|
|37, 1/22, 12, 0/3||Surrey||v Oxford MCCU||Oxford||28 Mar 2017||FC|
|0/45, 4, 0||England||v India||Visakhapatnam||17 Nov 2016||Test # 2235|
|32, 2/77, 1/41||England||v India||Rajkot||9 Nov 2016||Test # 2232|
|0/36, 13, 2/76, 0||England||v Bangladesh||Dhaka||28 Oct 2016||Test # 2227|
|4/68, 1||England XI||v BCB XI||Chittagong||16 Oct 2016||Other|
|0/23||England XI||v BCB XI||Chittagong||14 Oct 2016||Other|
|0, 1/33||Surrey||v Warwickshire||Lord's||17 Sep 2016||LA|
|0/40, 48, 0/15, 51||Surrey||v Durham||Chester-le-Street||12 Sep 2016||FC|
|8, 0/22, 28, 1/18||Surrey||v Warwickshire||Birmingham||13 Aug 2016||FC|
"Cricket is not the end for me. My life isn't directed towards it. Cricket is a part of my life." Very few professional cricketers dare to say that in the 21st century, offering as it does an open invitation to coaches and supporters to suspect that their talent is not being maximised. But Zafar Ansari is prepared to say it and his balanced outlook is just one of the reasons why he is one of the more intriguing talents in the English game.
That outlook is bound to bring doubts at the highest level, inviting the question as to whether he is driven enough to succeed. But England's shortage of spinners of proven pedigree worked in his favour when he was summoned to England's winter Test tours of Bangladesh and India in 2016 as another batsman-spinner option alongside Moeen Ali. He was not a big turner of the ball, but his cerebral left-arm slows got an airing on a Test debut in Chittagong. There were further caps, too, in the first two Tests of the India series, but with five wickets in all to his name, and only 49 runs, he succumbed to a back injury and was replaced by Liam Dawson midway through the tour.
Ansari is richly talented. He excels at music and school and took his double-first at Cambridge seriously. But cricket has become his chosen career. Having come through the Surrey academy system as a left-arm-spinning allrounder he signed a full contract before the 2011 season after making his first-team debut in the CB40 the previous summer.
His first notable outing of 2011 came when, while playing for Cambridge University against Surrey, he dismissed Kevin Pietersen on his way to 5 for 33. He was rewarded with a Twenty20 debut a month later against Essex, where he starred with an unbeaten 30 from 18 balls before a tidy spell helped win Surrey the game and Ansari the Man of the Match award.
But it is in Championship cricket that Ansari has made his biggest impact. He has emerged as an opening batsman of guts and old-fashioned defensive solidity before dropping into the middle order in later seasons. In 2014, he topped 1000 first-class runs at a distinctly un-21st century strike rate of 36. His left-arm spin is used primarily on wearing pitches in the second innings. Add in his sprightly fielding, and Ansari is a cricketer of resourcefulness and unusual maturity. Already, he has been touted as a future Surrey captain.
Ansari made an England ODI debut in a weakened XI against Ireland in Malahide at the start of the 2015 season - Peter Moores' farewell as England coach. But for a badly broken thumb, he could have made a Test debut for England against Pakistan in the UAE in the autumn of that year, but hours after his selection was announced he was injured fielding at cover against Lancashire at Old Trafford. An operation followed and although the injury troubled him during the 2016 season, one year on he was again part of England's Test squad for the tour of Bangladesh.
Ansari's initial 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. His 2016 figures as Surrey returned to Division One of the Championship were just as unprepossessing, although there was the encouragement in mid-season of six wickets against Nottinghamshsire to encourage him - and, it turned out, England - that his career was back on track.
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