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Murali ‘forgives’ Hair but not Howard

cricket Updated: Oct 21, 2010 00:16 IST
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He has “forgiven and forgotten” former umpire Darrell Hair but Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan says the chucker jibe that came from Australia's ex-Prime Minister John Howard still rankles him.

Hair had called Muralitharan for chucking during the 1995 Boxing Day Test at the MCG and though the Lankan feels that the controversial umpire made a mistake by doing that, he has decided to let bygones be bygones.

“I have forgiven (him) and forgotten,” Murali said.

“I had been very upset with him, but I have let it go. I am not upset with him. People do make mistakes and I think he made a mistake. My action has been cleared,” he was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.

“But I'm not going to look at the past any more. What I really didn't like was the comments Howard made (in 2004). That was why I didn't come on the next tour here. From someone in his position, that was worse than anything the crowd said,: the spinner explained.

Muralitharan would be in Australia next month for what would be his farewell tour to the country and the off-spinner recalled the torrid time he had while dealing with taunts from the crowd Down Under.

“It has been a bit difficult here for me sometimes but mainly it has just been one or two people in the crowd saying some things,” he said.

“That is part of the game and as a sportsman you just have to accept that some people just don't like you,” he added.

Muralitharan, who would retire from international cricket after the next year's World Cup, said his rival Shane Warne would have made a great Australian captain.

“He proved that in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the first year when his side (Rajasthan Royals) just had a group of youngsters and he got them to win,” he said.

“I always enjoyed talking to Shane about cricket, he had so much knowledge. It might be 200 years before there is another spinner like Shane,” he said. “The only reason I got more Test wickets than him was because I started younger,” Muralitharan said.