Umar Akmal, the Pakistan batsman, has been recalled to his team's Test squad for the series against England in the UAE. Left-arm seamers Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan are also back in the squad, and Shoaib Malik and seamer Mohammad Khalil, who toured Bangladesh, have been left out.
Malik was dropped after a run of poor performances with the bat in ODIs. He hasn't played a Test since August last year and has managed just 35 runs in six innings since his return to the national team in September this year. Khalil, a left-arm medium-pace bowler, was part of Pakistan's touring squad to Bangladesh but didn't play a game. He had replaced Junaid Khan, who suffered an abdominal muscle strain, for the Bangladesh tour and Junaid's return to the squad against England meant Khalil lost his spot. Junaid's inclusion is still subject to him proving his fitness.
Riaz last played a Test in May 2011, on the tour of the West Indies, but a strong performance on the domestic circuit, for National Bank of Pakistan in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, with 30 wickets in six games at 24.86, won him a place in the 16-man squad.
Umar has achieved a fair amount of success in the limited-overs formats and burst on to the Test scene with a century on debut against New Zealand in Dunedin in 2009. But he hasn't scored a century in 29 innings since, often getting starts but not pushing on for a big score. He was left out of the Test series against Sri Lanka in the UAE but has won his place back at Malik's expense against England.
Pakistan have had an impressive 2011, drawing a series in the West Indies, winning against Zimbabwe followed by Sri Lanka in the UAE before sweeping Bangladesh 2-0. They play England in a three-Test series, starting January 17 in Dubai, followed by four ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals.