England recalled spinner Monty Panesar when they named a 16-man squad on Friday for their upcoming Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
The series, being played in the UAE because of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan, will be England's first since they went to number one in the world Test rankings during a 4-0 home thrashing of India earlier this year.
Left-arm spinner Panesar has been in the international wilderness since playing the last of his 39 Tests two years ago, when his tailend resistance with the bat helped England cling on for a draw in the 2009 Ashes opener against Australia in Cardiff.
But with pitches in the UAE expected to take turn, Panesar -- whose 126 Test wickets have come at an average of just under 35 apiece -- has been selected as the second spinner behind off-break bowler Graeme Swann in a 16-man squad.
Panesar has been playing club cricket in Australia and England national selector Geoff Miller, announcing the squad, said: "Monty Panesar, who has been playing cricket in Sydney recently, has been selected as the second spin option along with Graeme Swann.
"Monty's selection comes off the back of a strong domestic season with Sussex and with the potentially spin-friendly conditions of Dubai and Abu Dhabi in mind," former England off-spinner Miller added.
England captain Andrew Strauss will lead a tour party featuring several players returning from injury in batsman Eoin Morgan (shoulder) and fast bowlers Chris Tremlett (back) and Stuart Broad (shoulder).
Morgan has been unavailable since the first match of England's one-day international series at home to India in September and had to undergo shoulder surgery while Broad also injured his shoulder in the same series and missed the return -- a 5-0 thrashing in India.
Tremlett was sidelined prior to the one-dayers, having suffered back trouble before the Trent Bridge Test against India while paceman Tim Bresnan, who has not missed any representative cricket through injury, has been passed fit following a recent elbow operation.
"This is an important series given it is our first Test series since hosting India in August this year and we expect a stern challenge against a Pakistan side that will be accustomed to playing in the UAE," said Miller.
"We believe we've selected a very strong squad with a number of key players looking to return from injury including the likes of Stuart Broad, Eoin Morgan and Chris Tremlett.
"To have three world-class players of their calibre returning to the squad is an enormous boost for the Test team."
England will name their squads for the one-day and Twenty20 legs of the tour at a later date.
England Test squad: Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (wkt), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Tim Bresnan, Chris Tremlett, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Steven Davies (wkt), Monty Panesar, Ravi Bopara
Jan 03: England arrive
Jan 07-09: TBC v England XI, venue TBC
Jan 11-13: TBC v England XI, venue TBC
Jan 17-21: 1ST TEST, Dubai
Jan 25-29: 2ND TEST, Abu Dhabi
Feb 03-07: 3RD TEST, Dubai
Feb 10: TBC v England XI, Abu Dhabi
Feb 13: 1ST ODI, Abu Dhabi
Feb 15: 2ND ODI, Abu Dhabi
Feb 18: 3RD ODI, Dubai
Feb 21: 4TH ODI, Dubai
Feb 23: 1ST T20, Dubai
Feb 25: 2ND T20, Dubai
Feb 27: 3RD T20, Abu Dhabi