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Last Updated: Monday, 7 May 2007, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Asif included in Pakistan squad
Mohammad Asif
Asif has 49 wickets from nine Tests and 22 from 22 one-day games
Pakistan have included Mohammad Asif in a 16-man squad for a three-match series with Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi this month.

The 24-year-old paceman, cleared of a doping ban last year, missed the World Cup because of an elbow injury.

Abdul Razzaq, who was also ruled out for the Caribbean due to knee trouble, is fit to return, while opening batsman Salman Butt earns a recall.

Younis Khan, Danish Kaneria and Azhar Mahmood are all unavailable because of county commitments in England.

Pakistan, yet to name a replacement for the late Bob Woolmer as coach, will be led by Shoaib Malik, who has been appointed as captain for 2007.

The 25-year-old all-rounder, who has played 18 Tests and 137 one-day internationals, replaced Inzamam-ul-Haq, who announced his retirement from the shorter form of the game after the traumatic World Cup campaign.

Asif, banned along with Shoaib Akhtar for nandrolone offences last September but cleared on appeal three months later, has not featured for Pakistan since taking 1-21 in the final one-day match in South Africa in February.

Fawad Alam, a 21-year-old left-arm spinner and batsman, gets his first opportunity at national level after impressing in the domestic arena.

Also featuring in the Pakistan squad for the first time is 22-year-old left-arm paceman Najaf Shah, with pace spearhead Akhtar again unable to prove his fitness following a knee problem.

Chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed, announcing his first squad having replaced Wasim Bari after the World Cup, said new players would be added gradually.

"The new selection committee is in the power play stages and will take time to make this team a stronger outfit," he observed.

Pakistan squad: Shoaib Malik (capt), Salman Butt, Imran Nazir, Yasir Hameed, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Yousuf, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Abdur Rehman, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Najaf Shah.

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