Fast bowler Mohammad Amir and legspinner Shadab Khan are back in the Test squad for the tour of South Africa. The first of three Tests in the series begins on December 26 at Centurion, reported Cricinfo.

Fakhar Zaman, who missed the Test series against New Zealand with a knee injury also called back in the squad.

Shan Masood, who comes in following the Test retirement of Mohammad Hafeez. Mohammad Rizwan, who has previously played one Test in Hamilton in November 2016, has also been included as the second wicketkeeping option behind captain Sarfraz Ahmed.

Hafeez apart, Pakistan have left out offspinner Bilal Asif, fast bowler Mir Hamza, and the uncapped batsman Saad Ali, who were all part of the squad against New Zealand.

A poor run of limited-overs form had led to Amir being dropped from Pakistan's squad in all three formats during their ongoing home season in the UAE. He missed the Test series against Australia and New Zealand, but he has shown excellent form in first-class cricket, picking up 23 wickets in his last four Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches at an average of 13.61.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan's chief selector, said Amir's drop in form had come about as a result of his heavy workload since returning from a five-year spot-fixing ban in January 2016.

"Amir is a wonderful bowler and we all know how skilful he is," Inzamam said. "But since his return, he went through a lot of workloads and didn't get enough time to rest. He was always in our plans. He was dropped for his good, to allow him to go back and not only rest but also work on his deficiencies."

Shadab, meanwhile, didn't play any of the Tests against Australia and New Zealand, nursing a long-term groin injury - although he did play the limited-overs matches against New Zealand. His return has led to the exclusion of Bilal, who made his Test debut during the home season and picked up 16 wickets in five Tests - including two five-wicket hauls - at an average of 26.50.


Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi