England have plucked Samit Patel from international exile to replace Zafar Ansari in the Test squad for the three-match series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates after the Surrey all-rounder was ruled out for at least three weeks with a dislocated left thumb. Ansari suffered the blow in the County Championship match against Lancashire on the day his maiden international call-up was confirmed.
Ansari has undergone an MRI scan and will begin a process of rehabilitation before a decision is taken over his participation in the England Performance Programme and Lions squad which will travel to the UAE. Ansari was included in both squads before the extent of his injury was confirmed but his participation this winter has been thrown into doubt.
Patel has not played Test cricket since England's series win in India in 2012, their first for 27 years, while he has not featured on the international scene for more than two years. The Nottinghamshire spinner has taken 26 wickets at an average of 32.19 in the Division One County Championship this season.
"The timing of this injury, on the day his selection was announced, was particularly cruel for Zafar and he is naturally extremely disappointed to have to pull out of the tour," national selector James Whittaker said. "The ECB and Surrey medical staff will supervise his rehabilitation closely and we all hope that he will be able to take up his place in the EPP and Lions squads for their trips to UAE later in the year.
"As a left-arm spinner and a middle-order batsman, Samit is a similar type of player to Zafar and his previous international experience, and in particular, experience of performing for England in sub-continental conditions will be an extremely useful asset to the squad in the UAE."