Howard supports India's powerful off-field stature in world cricket

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Sydney, Mar 4 (ANI): ICC vice-president-elect John Howard has denied India's powerful off-field stature is a problem for world cricket.

Howard has been also nominated as the Cricket Australia and the New Zealand Cricket candidate to serve as ICC president from 2012.

He said India's relative strength and love for the game should be embraced rather than feared.

"India is the second-most-populous country in the world, it's cricket-mad, they are pluses," Howard told ABC Radio.

"I think it's entirely wrong to look at the Indian involvement in cricket in a negative light. I think of those millions of people in India and the sub-continent ... who play cricket. They play it with a passion and love it," he said.

Howard hit back at the perception he lacked the skills to take on the job, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

"I think the fact I haven't been involved in cricket administration is explained by the fact I had a day job which made that rather difficult," he said, referring to his 30-year political career.

Earlier, legendary spinner and highest wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan had said Howard will face a challenge to win over the subcontinent when he assumes the post as International Cricket Council president from 2012.

Murali said 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 said. (ANI)

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