LAHORE – Fawad Alam returned from a decade in the test wilderness on Saturday after Pakistan recalled the middle-order batsman for the two-match home series against Sri Lanka later this month.
The 34-year-old replaced Iftikhar Ahmed, who managed only 44 runs in four innings in the recent tour of Australia where Pakistan lost both tests.
Left-arm quick Usman Shinwari replaced Muhammad Musa, who was wicketless on his test debut in Adelaide, in the only other change to the test squad.
Fawad played the last of his three test matches in New Zealand in 2009 and was last seen in Pakistan colours in a 2015 one-day international in Bangladesh.
"It is a reward for his continued hard work, perseverance and dedication to the game," chief selector and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq said in a statement.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) December 7, 2019
"His selection is not only a lesson to the emerging cricketers but also a testament of the selectors’ policy of valuing domestic cricket and rewarding consistent performers."
Pakistan will play a test on home soil for the first time in more than 10 years with Rawalpindi hosting the first match from Dec. 11, while the second is scheduled in Karachi from Dec. 19.
Misbah believes the team have learnt their lessons from their 2-0 thumping in Australia.
"The Australia tour was well below our expectations and has affected our pride," he said.
"We are now seeing Australia as a huge learning experience and will make all out efforts to overcome the weaknesses that have been identified."
Pakistan names squad for Sri Lanka Tests
— PCB Media (@TheRealPCBMedia) December 7, 2019
Sixteen-year-old Naseem Shah, who made his test debut in Brisbane, was among 14 of the 16 players retained from the Australia tour.
"This indicates our consistency and continuity as we believe in first picking the best available players and then providing them (with) sufficient opportunities to justify their talent," Misbah added.
"The retention of the 14 players also reflects the trust and faith we have in these players, who have the ability and talent to turn things around."
Squad: Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah, Usman Shinwari