One man who might be sat at home thinking what might have been this winter is former Hampton School student Zafar Ansari.

The 23-year-old is currently nursing the dislocated and broken thumb that prevented him taking a place in the England’s Test series with Pakistan in the UAE.

Ansari was ruled out of the tour hours after being named in the party heading to the Middle East and days before Surrey’s Royal London One Day Cup defeat to Gloucestershire at Lord’s in September.

His elevation would have capped a perfect summer for the left-arm spinning opening batsmen that saw him claim 44 first class wickets and score 771 first class runs to help his team lift the LV= County Championship Division Two title.

Instead, he will not start the England Performance Programme’s (EPP) batting and spinning camp in the Middle East – which kicks off on November 11 – and it is doubtful if he will be fit for the England Lions tour later this winter.

In his absence, England captain Alastair Cook has seen his three frontline spinners struggle to make an impact as Pakistan claimed a 2-0 series win on Thursday with victory in the final Test in Sharjah.

Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali and Ansari’s replacement Samit Patel have taken 20 wickets between them and conceded a lot of runs in spin-friendly conditions.

Ansari may well feel he dodged a bullet in being forced to rest up, but Surrey captain Gareth Batty is confident he will return to be a key part of his side’s campaign in the top flight next summer.

“When Zafar did his thumb, it was a horrific injury,” he said.

“It was one of those horrible things when a guy gets the best news of his career and then a long hop is whacked to point and he does his thumb.

“He is a huge part of the group because he has been picked for England.

“He has performed in all forms of the game for us and is a wonderful cricketer with the right temperament.

“He bats, bowls and is a huge part of the unit.”

Ansari’s new Surrey team-mate Mark Footitt and Hampshire all rounder Liam Dawson have been added to the EPP party.

And national selector James Whitaker confirmed the Surrey spinner remains on the England radar.

“It is unfortunate that Zafar’s recovery from injury has not progressed at a rate allowing him to participate fully in the EPP batting and spin camp in the UAE at present,” he said last week.

“But we will continue to monitor his progress closely and will consider involving him in the later stages of the EPP and Lions programme this winter, once he regains full fitness.