Pakistan on Wednesday announced squads for its upcoming series with England and Zimbabwe.
Secondly, outstanding performers in the recently concluded Haier T20 National tournament were rewarded with selection.
There was also no place in the squad for off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who has struggled since returning to international cricket from a ban for an illegal bowling action. Alam last played against New Zealand in November 2009, but has scored loads of runs in first-class cricket, including two centuries and five fifties.
He continued making headlines with his exploits at the Test level with his performances in Australia and England, but the latter tour brought a premature halt to his promising young career.
Reflecting on the new arrivals in the Test squad, Skipton-born national selector James Whitaker said: “The challenge we face against Pakistan will be very different, and the composition of our squads reflects the conditions we expect to encounter in the UAE”.
Pakistan’s tour of Zimbabwe begins on September 27 with two T20Is. Sohaib Maqsood returned to both the ODI and T20I squads after recovering from the injury sustained at the 2015 World Cup.
The 29-year-old, however, cannot take his place in Pakistan’s crammed middle order for granted with captain Misbah-ul-Haq, former captain Younus Khan and one-day skipper Azhar Ali being the automatic choices.
Joe Root, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett and York’s Jonny Bairstow make up a quarter of the party, but out-of-form opener Adam Lyth has been left out after playing in all seven of this summer’s Tests, as has Yorkshire county colleague Gary Ballance, with the selectors now opting for uncapped Nottinghamshire opener Alex Hales.
Fast bowler Wahab Riaz has been recalled to the squad to play in the United Arab Emirates, while allrounder Fawad Alam could end a five-year absence from of the Test team during the series.
They intend to add one of two left-arm spinners – Zafar Gohar and Mohammad Ashgar – to complete a squad of 16, depending which one impresses most in the two warm-up matches in Sharjah.
Test squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Fawad Alam, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Zulfiaqr Babar, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Rahat Ali, Junaid Khan.