LAHORE - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Wednesday dropped veteran off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and recalled opener Ahmed Shehzad for their three-match Test series against Sri Lanka commencing from June 17.

The Test squad was announced after PCB chairman Shaharyar M Khan approved following the recommendations of the four-member selection committee headed by Haroon Rashid. The selection committee had also consulted with the team management including head coach Waqar Younis and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq while finalising the 15-member squad.

Despite his absence, off-spinner Ajmal remains the highest ranked Test bowler for Pakistan, currently sitting 11th in the ICC's official Test rankings. Ajmal joins Babar Azam, Bilawal Bhatti and Sami Aslam as omissions, while Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood and Ehsan Adil have been included. Wahab Riaz will be spearheading the pace attack with Imran Khan and Ehsan Adil while Zulfikar Babar and Yasir Shah are spinners in the side.

Ajmal returned to international cricket in April following his suspension for bowling with an illegal action, featuring in two one-day internationals (ODIs) and a T20 match against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

The 37-year-old was banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last September. He later remodelled his action and was cleared to resume bowling on the eve of the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, but failed to feature in Pakistan's campaign that ended in a quarter-final loss to Australia. His April return to international cricket with his new action was fruitless as Ajmal took one wicket in three matches from 22.3 overs at more than a run-a-ball.

Ahmed Shehzad did not feature in the side for the two-game Test series or the three one-day internationals with Bangladesh last month due to disciplinary issues. The team management took issue with an apparent lack of discipline from Shehzad at the World Cup, where Pakistan were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by eventual winners Australia.

Although Shehzad was named in the ODI squad for the recent 2-0 series win over Zimbabwe, yet he did not feature. However, he will now look to repay the faith shown in him by the PCB selection committee.

Another opener, Shan Masood, who has not played since November last year, is back in the fray following his 182 in the third game of Pakistan A's tour of Sri Lanka. Fast bowler Ehsan Adil also returns after missing the ODI series with Bangladesh due to a hamstring injury.

PCB chief selector Haroon Rashid, in statement, said: “While selecting the squad, the selection committee considered the following key areas. Suitability to play in varied playing conditions, potential to perform at international level, current form and fitness, performance in the previous tours of Bangladesh and recently concluded Pakistan A team's tour of Sri Lanka, and feedback from the team management on the performance of players on Bangladesh tour."

"Fawad Alam, Sami Aslam and some other players were also under consideration but could not be included but they remain on the selector's radar. Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan and Sohaib Maqsood are still on rehab after sustaining injuries and it is hoped that they would be available for selection in the near future.

Haroon said that Shehzad had been given a chance since he remained a strong player for Pakistan in Tests and was improving. "Shehzad, like others, was clear for selection and so we had no issues picking him," he said.

Haroon also made it clear that young promising players like left-arm spinner M Asghar, leg-spinner Osama Mir and all-rounder Bilal Asif would be considered later on for either the one-day or T20 matches in Sri Lanka. "The selection committee has also kept its options open in case of need for the 16th member keeping in mind the extreme weather conditions in Sri Lanka," he concluded. The first Test against Sri Lanka is scheduled from June 17 at Galle.

TEST SQUAD: M Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali (vc), Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Younus Khan, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Wahab Riaz Junaid Khan, Imran Khan and Ehsan Adil.