Set to take over as ICC President from 2012, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard has rejected concerns about India's dominance in international cricket, saying the country's enormous stature should not be viewed in a "negative light".
"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 subcontinent who play cricket. They play it with a passion and love it," he added.
Howard, who has been jointly nominated for the post by Australia and New Zealand, will take over once India's Sharad
Pawar finishes his two-year term starting this June.
The self-confessed "cricket-tragic" refuted suggestions that he was not qualified enough for the job.
"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.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has backed Howard's nomination despite his past comments on spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action.
Howard had called Muralitharan a chucker in 2004 but the ace off-spinner says he has forgiven the Aussie for the jibe.
"We know that Howard as prime minister unruffled a few feathers calling Muttiah Muralitharan a chucker, but that is now a thing of the past," Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told Cricinfo.
"We don't want to harp on it any more. We have to look to the future and try to work cordially with whoever is elected to the ICC post. We have no control over people elected to that position," he added.
Howard's nomination will be approved at the ICC's executive board meeting in April and will be finalised at the annual conference in June.