Pakistan batsman Fawad Alam returned to Pakistan's Test playing XI after missing 88 matches in the span of 10 years and 8 months. Fawad was picked in the playing XI of the second Test match against England in Southampton in the place of Shadab Khan. He last played for Pakistan in Test was in November 2009 against New Zealand.
The 88 Tests gap is the 7th longest between two matches in the red-ball cricket. While it is the second-longest gap for a Pakistan cricketer as Younis Ahmed tops the list with 104 Tests gap between 1969-1987.
Fawad, who has been scoring consistently well in the domestic cricket for Pakistan, has played only three matches before the Southampton Test. He has scored 250 runs at an average of 41.66. He also scored a century on debut against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali won the toss and elected to bat in the second Test of the ongoing three-match series against England starting Thursday at the Ageas Bowl.
"The weather is quite hot and we would like to make full use of it and put runs on the board. There will be some freshness in the pitch for the first couple of hours but we will look to negate that," said Ali after winning the toss.
"We wanted to lengthen our batting, Sam's performed brilliantly down the order for us in the past," said England captain Joe Root. As for James Anderson's retention, he added: "It's quite muggy, feels like it could swing, very much looking to see him get into his work this morning."
England hold a 1-0 lead in the series, having won the first Test by three wickets in a dramatic fashion at the Old Trafford in Manchester.