Pakistan's revolving door to Test cricket
Pakistan over the last five years have handed debuts to 28 players - second to only Australia (with 32) in world cricket - with Bilawal Bhatti and Ahmed Shahzad becoming the latest men to be given Test caps. In an apparent rebuilding process, Pakistan fielded eight new comers this year in as many as eight Test matches. Similarly, Pakistan tried eight debutant in 2009 and 2010 while four men were tested between 2011 and 2012.
The transition is still ongoing and as selection over the year has been inconsistent, so have been results. Only Misbah-ul-Haq, Saeed Ajmal, Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq have been automatic selections throughout the year; Azhar Ali could have been the fifth, had he not been dropped from the ongoing Test against Sri Lanka
Nasir Jamshed, cap no. 210
Debut v South Africa, Johannesburg
Performance on debut: 2, 46
Talented but unable to convert his limited-overs form to Test cricket. He was rewarded for his one-day run feast against India and handed a Test cap. For a while he was considered a long-term prospect amid the hunt for an opener but he was dropped after two Test matches in which he had managed to score 51 in four innings. He never stood tall afterwards and even his position in the limited-overs squad dried up and he needed a weight of runs to return.
Replaced by: Imran Farhat - who was himself subsequently dropped.
Rahat Ali, 211
Debut v South Africa, Johnanesburg
Performance on debut: 14-0-56-0, 11-1-44-0
Rahat Ali was picked on the tour to South Africa to reinforce Pakistan's bowling line up and was handed a Test cap immediately for the first Test. But he was immediately dropped after he conceded 100 runs in his wicketless first Test. Brought back for the final Test, he took six wickets but couldn't prevent Pakistan's defeat. He was retained for the Zimbabwe series this year in the absence of Mohammad Irfan - who returned to retake his place for the South Africa series in the UAE. Irfan's hip injury once again made a way for Rahat, who is playing his fifth Test, against Sri Lanka, with a future hanging in balance.
Replaced by: Mohammad Irfan
Mohammad Irfan, 212
Debut v South Africa, Cape Town
Performance on debut: 21-1-86-3, 10-1-35-0
A giant seven-foot-one surprise package of 2013 but his brittle body kept him at bay all year long. He has improved immensely since his ODI debut back in 2010 and his journey has started to build but a hip injury once again halted his run. He is 31 but his career's momentum is prerequisite to a well-managed workload.
Replaced by: Rahat Ali, occasionally.
Ehsan Adil, 213
Debut v South Africa, Centurion Performance on debut: 12.2-1-54-2
He might have dismissed South Africa captain Graeme Smith with only his third ball in his first Test appearance but it didn't last as he bowled 12.1 overs, conceded 54 and took one more wicket. Pakistan lost the Test by an innings and 18 runs to complete a 3-0 whitewash. Adil hasn't been picked again but he went on to play four ODIs until May 2013. With strong competition in the bowling line up, his future looks bleak.
Replaced by: Junaid Khan.
Shan Masood, 214
Debut v South Africa, Abu Dhabi Performance on debut: 75, 0
With a productive domestic season in 2012-13, Shan was another opener tried in the home series against South Africa. He was called up to replace Mohammad Hafeez - who was axed after the Zimbabwe series. Shan justified his selection when he put on a 135-run opening stand with Khurram Manzoor to break Pakistan's top order drought. But he could not capitalise and made 21 and two ducks in his next three innings. He was been dropped after being tested in only two Test matches. Replaced by: Ahmed Shahzad
Zulfiqar Babar, 215
Debut v South Africa, Abu Dhabi Performance on debut: 27-2-89-3, 19-6-51-2
A lately-recognised left-arm spinner; Zulfiqar debuted at the age of 34. A much-deserving prospect, he had to wait for nearly 14 years to find a place in the national side but has been pushed back after been utilised in only two Test matches. He suffered hand injury during his only second Test and despite recovering once again, he has been pushed back and faced an uncertain future with another left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman ahead of him
Replaced by: Abdur Rehman
Bilawal Bhatti, 216
Debut v Sri Lanka, Abu Dhabi
Performance on debut: 15-1-65-3 (on day one)
Thanks to Umar Gul's lack of Test-match fitness, Bilawal Bhatti was promoted to a surprising Test match debut. He was preferred ahead of another paceman Mohammad Talha - another prospect who has been a forgotten man for last three years. Bhatti's introduction to international cricket has been an impactful one with a match-winning contribution (39 off 25 and three wicket apiece) at Cape Town against South Africa. It's premature to suggest Bhatti being a long-term prospect in Test squad but he potentially can fill in an all-rounder spot.
Ahmed Shehzad, 217
Debut v Sri Lanka, Abu Dhabi
Performance on debut: 25* (on day one)
Another potential opener earned a Test spot after a run form over the year. He combined 809 ODI runs in 21 matches at 38.52 including two hundreds and five half-centuries. He was selected for the South Africa Test series in the UAE but didn't make into the XI. He was selected ahead of Masood for the first Test.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here