Kolkata:India's cricket manager Lalchand Rajput feels the absence of Pakistan pace spearhead Mohammad Asif would not make much of a difference to the one-day series, which is likely to see a tough contest.
"Indo-Pak duels belong to a different level. Which player is there or not there, does not have any impact. It is always a high-pressure series, and it is impossible to make any prediction," Rajput told newspersons.
Asif was not in the Pakistani team, which arrived in New Delhi on Thursday, due to a nagging right shoulder problem.
Rajput echoed Pakistan's Australian coach Geoff Lawson's comments that the cricketing clashes between the two South Asian neighbours were 'bigger than the Ashes'.
"These games generate more excitement than even the Ashes," Rajput, a former Mumbai opener, said soon after arriving at the team hotel for the two-day camp in Kolkata.
On the absence of former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid and ex Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq, Rajput said "Ultimately, the results will be decided by the players who take the field. And, that's all that is important."
He said both teams have a 50:50 chance to win the five-match one-day engagements, which kick-start with the November 5 game at Nehru stadium, Guwahati. "It will be a tough series."
Rajput said the lack of outdoor nets on the opening day of the camp due to rains would not hamper the hosts' preparations for the coming battles.