Fast bowler Mohammad Sami and middle-order batsman Faisal Iqbal, neither of whom have played for Pakistan since 2010, have been recalled to the Test squad for the series in Sri Lanka starting next month. Afaq Raheem, the 26-year-old Islamabad batsman, and 32-year-old Sialkot batsman Mohammad Ayub, who were the top two run-getters in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy this season, were the new faces in the 16-man squad.
Sami also featured in the one-day pool for the tour of Sri Lanka, and there was a recall for opener Imran Farhat, who was dropped for the Asia Cup. Rahat Ali, the 23-year-old Khan Research Laboratories left-arm fast bowler, was a new inclusion in the ODI squad, while fast bowler Wahab Riaz and allrounder Hammad Azam were left out.
Wahab was also excluded from the Test squad and so was Mohammad Talha, the 23-year-old National Bank of Pakistan fast bowler. Neither of them had played the Tests against England though they had been part of the squad. Umar Akmal and Farhat, two other players who had been on the fringes of the Test starting XI, were also left out.
Ayub, who took one of their spots in the batting line-up, has been close to national selection for several years, having been among the top performers on the domestic circuit. He has played 93 first-class matches and was last in contention before the England series earlier this year.
Raheem is also an experienced batsman, having played 75 first-class matches. His career was disrupted by a knee injury which cost him nearly two seasons starting from June 2009. He returned last year and capped a successful season by top-scoring in the Quaid-e-Azam.
Opening bowler Ali had not played much List A cricket in the 2011-12 season, but put in a fine showing in first-class cricket, in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Division Two. He finished fourth on the wickets charts, with 44 scalps from nine games at 17.45.
Comeback man Iqbal has previously failed to make establish himself in the Test team, playing 26 matches over the past decade. The highlight of his career came in early 2006, when he scored a second-innings century to help set up Pakistan's 341-run win against India in Karachi. Following a steady Quaid-e-Azam 2011-12 season, in which he averaged 46.87, he scored two hundreds in the two games he played for Sind in the Faysal Bank Pentangular Cup. He aggregated 263 runs at an average of 87.66 in the tournament, a performance that probably prompted his national recall.
Test squad: Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Azhar Ali, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal (wk), Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Mohammad Sami, Faisal Iqbal, Junaid Khan, Afaq Raheem, Mohammad Ayub, Aizaz Cheema
ODI squad: Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Umar Akmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Rahat Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Mohammad Sami, Asad Shafiq, Aizaz Cheema, Azhar Ali, Imran Farhat