Injured Asif ruled out of Test series November 16, 2007

Mohammad Sami recalled to Pakistan squad

Cricinfo staff

Mohammad Sami is back in the Pakistan Test squad after a 10-month absence © AFP
Mohammad Sami has been recalled to Pakistan's 15-man Test squad against India following an impressive start to the domestic season, while Mohammad Asif's elbow injury has all but ruled him out of the Test series as well.

Danish Kaneria and Faisal Iqbal will also be flying out to India, while Imran Nazir, Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam and Rao Iftikhar Anjum will head back following the conclusion of the ODI series.

Sami was not included in Pakistan's last Test squad against South Africa, but has been impressive this season in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy for Karachi Whites. Coupled with Asif's unavailability, it makes him "the best option to partner Shoaib Akhtar," according to Salahuddin Ahmed, the chief selector.

Sami played the last of his 30, largely unfulfilling Tests, in January against South Africa since when he drifted to the sidelines of Pakistan's Test attack. But he has picked up 21 wickets so far this season while captaining the Whites, and a career-best 8-39 last week that sealed his spot.

"Sami is in outstanding form at the moment. We need to strengthen our pace attack and along with Shoaib and Umar Gul, he should form a potent attack," Salahuddin told Cricinfo.

Kaneria, a certainty for the Test squad, has also been in good form in domestic cricket. Following a poor series against South Africa, he has picked up 27 wickets for Habib Bank, to be among the leading wicket-takers this season.

Iqbal also retains his place in the side, having impressed selectors with his second innings 44 at Karachi, against South Africa. He didn't play in the following Test at Lahore, but that was only because the Pakistan board was eager to give Inzamam-ul-Haq a proper send-off.

"Faisal has been playing well this season and he made runs for Pakistan A," said Salahuddin. "He only missed the second Test against South Africa because Inzamam was playing so it's only right that he remains the first choice for that position."

Asif's absence will trouble Pakistan. He has been their lead strike bowler over the last 18 months, but a troublesome elbow has held back his progress in recent months. He is due to travel to Australia next week for another opinion on his injury, after two doctors offered conflicting advice: one suggested surgery, while the other said he needed proper rest and medication.

Whatever is recommended by the specialists in Australia, it seems highly unlikely that Asif will recover in time for any of the Tests. The Tests begin in Delhi from November 22, while the last Test will be played in Bangalore, from December 8. Pakistan have already lost the ODI series.

Squad: Shoaib Malik (capt), Younis Khan (vice-captain), Salman Butt, Yasir Hameed, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Faisal Iqbal, Kamran Akmal (wk), Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Sami, Abdur Rehman