x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Pakistan selectors promise 'good surprise' for England Test series

Fast bowler Wahab Riaz and batsman Umar Akmal recalled to the squad for the three-Test series, to be played in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Fast bowler Wahab Riaz and batsman Umar Akmal have made their way back to the Pakistan squad for the three-Test series against England, to be played in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

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

Riaz, the left arm paceman, last played against the West Indies earlier this year, also in the UAE.

Akmal 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, and the selectors are optimistic of a good show from the squad selected.

Mohammad Ilyas, the chief selector, said that the series against England will be tough, but hoped Pakistan would keep their winning momentum going. "It's a very tough competition," he said. "But we will give you good surprise."

The team for the five-match one-day series and three Twenty20 matches that follow will be named after the second Test.

Under the captaincy of Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan have won three Test series and drew 1-1 against the West Indies. While they defeated Sri Lanka 1-0 in the UAE last month, the other two wins came against lowly-ranked Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

But Pakistan would take that considering the loss of three key players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir – who were given prison sentences for their part in the spot-fixing scandal. Dubai will host the first and last Tests starting January 17 and February 3 respectively, while Abu Dhabi will stage the second from January 25.