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."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.