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January 11, 2013
Fast bowlers Mohammad Irfan and Ehsan Adil are among five players who have been called up to the Pakistan Test squad for the tour of South Africa, which begins at the end of the month. Batsmen Nasir Jamshed and Haris Sohail, and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed were the other inclusions who were not on the Test tour of Sri Lanka in June and July 2012.
The players left out were wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal, fast bowlers Aizaz Cheema and Mohammad Sami, batsman Mohammad Ayub and Afaq Raheem.
Asad Shafiq, who had missed the limited-overs tour to India due to a finger injury, has recovered and is back in the national team. Left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, who was banned by the ECB during last year's county season for failing a dope Test, also returns to the squad.
Irfan and Jamshed performed impressively in the ODI series in India. Irfan made an impact because of his height, using his seven-foot frame to generate pace and bounce, Jamshed scored two hundreds in three matches and was the Player of the Series. Haris Sohail was part of the ODI squad to India but did not get a game.
Adnan, who has been Pakistan's specialist wicketkeeper and has played 16 Test matches between 2010 and 2012, was reportedly dropped for being unfit. However, Adnan is currently playing the ongoing first-class tournament and has scored 243 runs at 121.50. Interestingly, none of the Akmal brothers - Kamran, Umar and Adnan - feature in the squad.
Adil was part of Pakistan's Under-19 team at the 2012 World Cup Australia, where they made the quarterfinals. Sarfraz last played a Test for Pakistan in 2010, in Hobart. His last ODI was in Colombo in June 2012. He was out of action due to finger injury, but in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy he is the leading wicketkeeper with 13 dismissals.
Pakistan play three Tests in South Africa, in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Centurion. The first Test begins on February 1.
Test squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Azhar Ali, Umar Gul, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil, Saeed Ajmal, Adbur Rehman, Haris Sohail, Faisal Iqbal, Taufeeq Umar, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk).
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Plays of the Day from second ODI between South Africa and Pakistan, in Port Elizabeth
Plays of the Day from the third ODI between India and West Indies, in Kanpur