LAHORE – Off spinner Saeed Ajmal will be Pakistan's ‘trump card’ during their short cricket tour of India this month, Pakistan cricket team head coach Dav Whatmore said here on Friday. The 35-year-old Ajmal is ranked No 1 in one-day internationals and Twenty20s with 109 wickets in 71 ODIs and 69 wickets in 48 T20s.

Talking to the reporters here at the Gaddafi Stadium, Whatmore said: "Saeed Ajmal will always remain a trump card for us as we all know he's a wonderful bowler. He's very much needed and he will always remain a threat."

Ajmal's doosra that turns away from the right-handers continues to baffle batsmen. But he's expected to have to share an extra workload in the one-dayers after enigmatic all-rounder Shahid Afridi was dropped by the selectors due to poor form.

"He's been a stalwart for Pakistan cricket and he's only recently retired so he's able to pass on some knowledge against contemporary bowlers he has faced," the head coach said and added: "He has faced the Indian bowlers so he is able to work with our players and discuss and let them know how he approached the same bowlers that we are going to approach."

Pakistan's short training camp was confined to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) due to rain on Friday. Former captain Inzamamul Haq was expected to pass on batting advice before the team leaves for India on December 22. Inzamam has been appointed as a batting consultant on a series-to-series basis by the PCB.

Whatmore said no matter what type of pitches they met in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi but he just hoped they were conducive to good matches. "We've got five different venues, the pitches at those venues, I think, are slightly different. Inherently, you have certain venues that will play in a certain way - both sides have decent players of all conditions. But, you know, the conditions in India are fairly well known to our boys and it will be a good contest."

Whatmore was appointed coach in March and soon after the former Australia Test batsman guided Pakistan to victory against India in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. India got the better of Pakistan in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. "This will be for the first time we'll play more than two or three times in a small series. It's an honour to be part of that and will be a great experience." The series, the first between the neighbours in five years, features two T20s and three ODIs beginning at Bangalore on December 25.