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February 10, 2009
Pakistan have left out Rao Iftikhar Anjum from the 22 probables for the first Test against Sri Lanka, which starts in Karachi on February 21. The selectors have recalled left-hander Asim Kamal, and have also included some of the leading domestic performers this season - allrounder Fawad Alam and upcoming fast bowler Mohammad Talha.
"Rao is a good fast bowler for one-day cricket, but we have depth in our fast bowling for Test matches," chief selector Abdul Qadir said. Anjum, who has 56 ODI appearances, has played only one Test, against Sri Lanka in Kandy in 2006. The squad will be trimmed to 14 or 15 after a short training camp in Karachi, which starts on February 15.
"We have good cushion in the middle-order with batsmen like Kamal, Faisal Iqbal and uncapped Saeed Bin Nasir," Qadir said. Kamal last played for Pakistan in December 2005, against England in Lahore. In 12 Tests, he has scored 717 runs at 37.73, with a best of 99.
Shoaib Akhtar had already been ruled out of the two-Test series after being advised to undergo knee surgery following the ODI series against Sri Lanka last month. Kamran Akmal and Sarfraz Ahmed are the two wicketkeepers among the probables.
The Karachi Test will be Pakistan's first five-day game since the third Test against India in Bangalore in December 2007. Legspinner Danish Kaneria is likely to make his first international appearance after a year on the sidelines - he is not a regular in Pakistan's limited-overs teams. It will also be the first assignment under recently-appointed captain Younis Khan, who replaced Shoaib Malik after the 2-1 loss to Sri Lanka in the ODIs, including an embarrassing 234-run defeat in the decider in Lahore.
Probables: Younis Khan, Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Khurram Manzoor, Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, Faisal Iqbal, Asim Kamal, Fawad Alam, Bazid Khan, Saeed Bin Nasir, Sohail Tanvir, Yasir Arafat, Danish Kaneria, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Umar Gul, Mohammad Talha, Sohail Khan, Abdul Rauf, Saeed Ajmal, Sarfraz Ahmed.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.