KARACHI - Umar Akmal has been axed from the Pakistan Test squad for their series against Sri Lanka in the UAE starting later this month. Shoaib Malik, who was on Pakistan's tour of Zimbabwe after gaining clearance from the PCB, finds a place in the 15-man squad. Seasoned pace bowlers Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz were recalled to the Pakistan squad for the Test series against Sri Lanka but the national selectors dropped young batsman Umar Akmal for the three matches. "We have picked the Test squad keeping in mind the climate and strength of the opposition," chief selector Mohsin Khan told a press conference on Sunday. "The squad has been picked basically on basis of the players' performance in international and domestic cricket," he said. Imran Farhat, who returned to the Pakistan squad for the Zimbabwe tour, has been picked as a third opener along with M Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar. Abdur Rehman returns after being rested for the Zimbabwe tour, and joins Saeed Ajmal in the spin attack. The selectors apparently omitted the talented Umar Akmal to retain former captain Shoaib Malik in the Test squad. Malik had gone to Zimbabwe with the full squad in August but did not play in the lone Test. Mohsin said the team management and selectors were now keen to give Malik a chance to break into the Test squad. "It is basically up to him the chance will come sooner or later," ToI quoted Mohsin as saying. Umar Akmal has not scored a Test century since his debut in 2009. After a poor year in 2010, when he averaged just 24.33, he was left out of the XI for the two Tests in New Zealand. He returned to the side for the Tests in the West Indies, but after scoring just one Test half-century this year, and struggling to play long innings in ODIs as well, he has been left out of the Test squad. Umar Akmal's exclusion means Asad Shafiq and Shoaib Malik will be fighting for a middle-order spot. After a year out of the Pakistan setup, Malik gained clearance from the PCB's integrity committee just in time to go to Zimbabwe. He did not play the Test there and did not make an impact in the ODIs and Twenty20 internationals. He has been consistently performing on the domestic circuit, finishing as the second-highest run-getter in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Division One last season, with 799 runs at an average of 73.57. Shafiq, meanwhile, has struggled in Tests since getting half-centuries in each of his first two innings. The other notable exclusion from the squad is Tanvir Ahmed, who has taken 16 wickets in the four Tests he has played since debuting against South Africa in November last year. He was not on the tour of Zimbabwe, though, and Cheema, who took eight wickets on debut in the Bulawayo Test and another eight wickets in the three-match one-day series, keeps his place. The first of three Tests starts on October 18 in Abu Dhabi. Shoaib Malik was very happy over return in Pakistan Test series against Sri Lanka to be played in the United Arab Emirates. "I am targeting Test cricket. Once you hit [form] in the format you certainly [improve] your chances to be successful in other formats as well," Malik told reporters. "Test cricket is the real form of cricket and I am more concerned about it." Squad: M Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Imran Farhat, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-haq (capt), Asad Shafiq, Adnan Akmal (wk), Shoaib Malik, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Aizaz Cheema, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, Junaid Khan.