Pakistan bring in Riaz and Akmal for England Test matches

Pakistan bring in Riaz and Akmal for England duel but ex-skipper Malik is axed

Pakistan have recalled fast bowler Wahab Riaz and batsman Umar Akmal for next month”s three-Test series against England.

Former captain Shoaib Malik has been dropped from the 16-man squad after he failed to impress in the last three one-day series against Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. He scored only 35 runs and took five wickets in his last eight ODIs.

Back in the fold: Pakistan Umar Akmal

Back in the fold: Pakistan Umar Akmal

Pakistan Test squad

Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Imran Farhat, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Azhar Ali, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Talha, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan.

Riaz, the left arm paceman, last played against the West Indies earlier this year. Akmal also did not feature in the test series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh due to poor form, but returns to face the top-ranked test team.

Pakistan has performed well despite the loss of three key players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, who were given prison sentences for their part in a spot-fixing scandal.

Under the captaincy of Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan has won three test series and drew 1-1 against the West Indies since reaching the semifinals of the World Cup this year.

While it defeated Sri Lanka 1-0 in the United Arab Emirates, the other two wins came against lowly ranked teams Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Chief selector Mohammad Ilyas said that the series against England will be tough, but hoped Pakistan would keep its winning momentum going.

Another chance: Wahab Riaz

Another chance: Wahab Riaz

“It”s a very tough competition,” he said. “But we will give you good surprise.”

Pakistan has been forced to play its home series mainly in the United Arab Emirates since gunmen attacked a Sri Lanka team bus at Lahore in 2009, killing six police officials and a van driver.

Dubai will host the first and third tests starting on January 17 and February 3, respectively, while Abu Dhabi will host the second starting on January 25.

Ilyas said the Pakistan team for the five-match one-day series and three Twenty20 matches against England will be named after the second Test.