LAHORE - In his first appearance as a Test captain of recently a very successful Pakistan’s Test team, selectors Saturday handed five uncapped players to Sarfraz Ahmed for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.

But to much liking and delight of Sarfraz, Prolific leg-spinner Yasir Shah passed a late fitness test to join the 16-man squad. The 31-year-old has been team's leading wicket-taker since making his debut in 2014, with a tally of 149 scalps in 26 Tests. Yasir's 24 wickets in three Tests helped Pakistan beat Sri Lanka away in 2015 but the stocky spinner has struggled for fitness in the past few months.

Azhar Ali, who has been struggling with a troubled knee was also cleared to play with the help of injections.

Haris Sohail and Usman Salahuddin have inherited the hardest jobs in Test cricket - to follow in the footsteps of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younus Khan. The pair are likely to be the first to attempt filling those giant shoes. Batsmen Haris and Usman have both played one-day internationals for Pakistan but are yet to make their Test debuts.

Pakistan have also picked uncapped fast bowler Mir Hamza, allrounder Bilal Asif and Left-arm spinner M Asghar are the other players in the squad yet to play in Tests. Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Rizwan were the two exclusions from the list of probables that went through a five-day conditioning camp in Lahore recently. Young spinner Shadab Khan and veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez were also omitted from the squad.

The first Test starts in Abu Dhabi from Thursday. The second Test -- a day-night affair -- will be played in Dubai from October 6. The two teams will also play five one-day internationals and three Twenty20s, the last of which will be in Lahore on October 29 – subject to security clearance.

Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said Yasir was told in clear terms that he would not be selected if he didn't pass the final fitness test.

"Yasir has been our main bowler for the way he has taken wickets consistently, but he needed to maintain a fitness standard and was told he had to pass the test and he did to get a place in the squad," said Inzamam while announcing the squad.

The chief selector said he wants to give maximum opportunity to youngsters to showcase their talent in the series.

25-year-old Mir Hamza from Karachi has an impressive record of 216 wickets in 46 first-class matches which he has played during the last four years. A notable, albeit surprising, inclusion in the Test squad is of 31-year old all-rounder Bilal Asif, who has only 15 first-class matches to his name. He has also represented Pakistan in three ODIs.

Much of the early focus will be on Sohail and Salahuddin, as Pakistan look to make up for losing over 15000 Test runs and nearly 200 Tests worth of experience in the middle order. The two Tests will be the first time Pakistan step onto a field without both Misbah and Younus in seven years, the previous such instance coming at Lord's in 2010. Both were the backbone of the Test squad that saw Pakistan reach the No.1 Test ranking last year. Inzamam picked Salahuddin and Sohail as prospective replacements.

"I have been thinking of both Usman and Haris over the last few series, envisaging the situation after seniors. Both have done well. Usman has done well as a middle-order batsman while Harris could have made it into the side in 2015 but was injured. So the idea is to give our youngsters an opportunity in our own conditions rather than playing them in away series. This will increase their confidence and both have the potential to fill in for Younus and Misbah. But it does not mean the door is shut on other players making it into the side. Performances will obviously be considered and, if a player is good enough, he can definitely be selected."

Pakistan named five fast bowlers and three specialist spinners, a move Inzamam said was aimed at managing the workload of the bowlers who are better on flat tracks in the UAE.

"We all understand that pitches in the UAE are a batting paradise, and there is a big opportunity for batsmen to score runs. It's really a big challenge to get any team out twice so we have to strengthen our bowling. That's why we have five fast bowlers with three spinners in our squad. Since the temperature will be around 40 degrees Celsius, we probably have to consider rotating our fast bowlers as well."

Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Asghar, Bilal Asif, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Wahab Riaz