Howard could face tough challenge from ICC's Asian bloc: Murali

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Melbourne, Mar.3 (ANI): Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard will face a challenge to win over the subcontinent when he assumes the post as International Cricket Council president in 2012, says veteran Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

Murali, who has taken more wickets than any player in the history of the game, has previously stated the "only reason" for his refusal to tour Australia with his national team in 2004 was the public questioning of his bowling action by Howard.

Now, at 37, Murali says his feud with Howard was "all finished" but noted the cricket-mad subcontinent and the all-important Asian bloc of the ICC might need more convincing.

"I'm not upset or angry with him or anything. At the time, I thought it was wrong - that was my opinion and he had his," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It was not appropriate at the time but it's all [in the] past. We've got to think about the future: how is he going to handle things in cricket? It won't be an easy job. He has to convince the subcontinent - that's going to be a tough challenge for him," Murali added.

"But things pass ... I tell him, 'All the best in 2012.' Anybody can make mistakes. We are all human, life goes on. You don't get a second chance so you've got to forget and forgive," he said.

Murali said the two were seen to make up when the spinner took part in the Asian tsunami relief match between an Asia XI and a World XI at the MCG in January 2005.

Howard's nomination as the Cricket Australia and New Zealand Cricket candidate to serve as ICC president from 2012 was welcomed by Ricky Ponting.

The Australian captain said Howard would "do a terrific job for world cricket".

A self-proclaimed cricket tragic, Howard has long voiced his passion for the game. (ANI)

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