Gul, Wahab back for Sri Lanka series


The Pakistan Cricket Board recalled pace bowlers Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz for the three-Test series against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates starting from Oct. 13. The only notable exclusion from the squad is batsman Umar Akmal. Pakistan play all their home tests in the Emirates because of security fears in their own country. Cricinfo adds: Umar Akmal has been dropped from the Pakistan Test squad. Shoaib Malik, who was on Pakistan’s tour of Zimbabwe after gaining clearance from the PCB, finds a place in the 15-man squad. Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz were rested from the Zimbabwe tour, and are now joined by Aizaz Cheema and Junaid Khan in the fast-bowling department, with no place for Sohail Tanvir and Tanvir Ahmed.
Imran Farhat, who returned to the Pakistan squad for the Zimbabwe tour, has been picked as a third opener along with Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar. Abdur Rehman returns after being rested for the Zimbabwe tour, and joins Saeed Ajmal in the spin attack. Umar Akmal had a poor year in 2010, when he averaged just 24.33. He returned to the side for the Tests in the West Indies, but after scoring just one Test half-century this year, and struggling to play long innings in ODIs as well, he has been left out of the Test squad.
Asad Shafiq and Shoaib Malik will be fighting for a middle-order spot. Malik did not play the Test there and did not make an impact in the ODIs and Twenty20 internationals. He has been consistently performing on the domestic circuit, finishing as the second-highest run-getter in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Division One last season, with 799 runs at an average of 73.57. Shafiq, meanwhile, has struggled in Tests since getting half-centuries in each of his first two innings. The other notable exclusion from the squad is Tanvir Ahmed, who has taken 16 wickets in the four Tests he has played since debuting against South Africa in November last year. He was not on the tour of Zimbabwe, though, and Cheema, who took eight wickets on debut in the Bulawayo Test and another eight wickets in the three-match one-day series, keeps his place.
The first of three Tests starts on October 18 in Abu Dhabi.
Squad: Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Imran Farhat, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-haq (capt), Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal (wk), Shoaib Malik, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Aizaz Cheema, Wahab Raiz, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan
Standby players: Tanvir Ahmed, Mohammad Talha, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah.