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Last Updated: Monday, 5 November 2007, 06:48 GMT
Cricket on amid Pakistani crisis
By Chris Morris
BBC News, Delhi

Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik and Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (right)
Attention is focused on the cricket field despite the political crisis
Pakistan's eagerly awaited cricket tour of India has begun against the backdrop of political uncertainty back at home.

The two sides are competing in a series of five one-day internationals, the first in Guwahati, in north-east India.

The two teams will also play three Test matches in what promises to be a passionate series.

The contest between the arch-rivals began on Monday, two days after President General Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule in Pakistan.

For tens of millions of fans in both countries, what matters over the next few weeks is not politics - it is cricket.

Concern

The first one-day international is taking place in Assam, in India's restive north-east.

Pakistan's coach, Geoff Lawson, has described the series as bigger than the Ashes, and every game will be fiercely competitive.

But the attention focused on the cricket is also a reminder of how much these two traditional rivals have in common.

India is certainly looking across the border with concern as events in Pakistan unfold.

But many Indians are more interested in decisions made on the pitch by Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi, than in decisions made in the field of politics by Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto.



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