Spinner Yasir Shah has been included in the Pakistan squad for two Tests against Sri Lanka after passing a team-mandated fitness test.
Shah, who has taken 149 wickets in only 26 Test appearances, has struggled with his conditioning in recent months and was told by chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq that situation had to change.
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Inzamam confirmed on Saturday that Shah had satisfied selectors of his fitness and would, therefore, be part of a 16-man party for the series which gets underway in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
“Yasir has been our main bowler for the way he has taken wickets consistently, but he needed to maintain a fitness standard, was told he had to pass the test and he did to get a place in the squad,” Inzamam said.
The series will be Pakistan’s first without stalwarts Younis Khan and former skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, with Sarfraz Ahmed having taken over as Test captain.
Uncapped batsman Usman Salahuddin could get his chance of a Test debut and there is also a call for left-arm fast bowler Mir Hamza, who has been a prolific wicket-taker in domestic cricket.
All-rounder Bilal Asif, who has only 15 first-class matches to his name, is also included and could make his belated Test bow at the age of 31 – he has played in three one-day internationals.
Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Asghar, Bilal Asif, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Wahab Riaz.