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Murali forgives Howard for chucker jibe

Last updated on: March 03, 2010 15:40 IST

John Howard had called him a chucker but Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan says he has forgiven the former Australian Prime Minister, who has been nominated to take over as ICC President from 2012.

Muralitharan said he has long forgotten the bitterness and wished Howard "best" for his "tough" job as ICC President.

Howard will take over the reigns of the game's world governing body from India's Sharad Pawar, who is set to become the next ICC President.

Muralitharan said he does not have any ill feeling for Howard, who had publicly called him chucker, prompting the Sri Lankan to boycott the 2004 tour of Australia.

"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. It was not appropriate at the time but it's all past.

Muralitharan said Howard faces a challenge to win over the subcontinent.

"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," Muralitharan told Sydney Morning Herald.

Muralitharan justified his decision not to travel Down Under in 2004.

"At the time, Sri Lankans all supported me so that's why I stayed back. But things pass. I tell him, 'All the best in 2012.' Anybody can make mistakes. You don't get a second chance so you've got to forget and forgive," he said.

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