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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 March 2006, 19:21 GMT
Bush braves Pakistani cricketers
President George W Bush playing cricket

US President George W Bush was hit by a ball at the heavily-guarded US embassy in Pakistan - as he tried his hand at the country's national sport, cricket.

The baseball-loving leader was shown how to bat and bowl by members of Pakistan's national team, using tennis balls instead of harder cricket balls.

"I don't quite have the skills yet," Mr Bush said later, when asked if he had enjoyed his first brush with the game.

He hit two deliveries from the crease, and was struck on the shoulder by one.

The US leader has been touring India and Pakistan.

Cricket remains an obsession in both countries, where the sport - introduced by the British more than a century ago - is a spur for national pride and fierce regional rivalry.

Bowled over

President Bush met Pakistani cricket captain Inzaman-ul-Haq and opening batsman Salman Butt amid tight security at the US embassy in Islamabad.

Watched by a crowd of schoolchildren, he was shown the correct way of holding a cricket bat before being led to the crease to face some bowling.

One of the balls from the Pakistani captain bounced high, striking the president on the shoulder.

Mr Bush also tried his hand at bowling.

He later handed out autographed baseballs to the gathering.

The Pakistani captain said the president had been looking for "a comparison between cricket and baseball".

Mr Bush told a dinner party on Saturday that he had been bowled over by a "googly" - a type of ball where the bowler seeks to surprise the batsman.

Separately, Pakistani cricket legend Imran Khan was placed under house arrest for trying to lead a protest against Mr Bush's visit.

The former captain turned politician heads an opposition party and is a critic of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

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