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Strong India needed for world cricket, says Howard

Former Australian prime minister John Howard has welcomed India's new-found influence over world cricket as he prepares to become the sport's governing body chief in 2012.

cricket Updated: Mar 05, 2010 01:37 IST

Former Australian prime minister John Howard has welcomed India's new-found influence over world cricket as he prepares to become the sport's governing body chief in 2012. Howard, who is facing a challenge to win over Asian nations, according to Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan, said India's growing power was positive for the sport.

"India is the second most populous country in the world, it's cricket-mad, they are pluses," Howard told state radio on Wednesday.

"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."

Howard, a self-confessed "cricket tragic", has been nominated for the rotating International Cricket Council presidency and will take over from India's Sharad Pawar in 2012.

Muralitharan said he had forgiven Howard for labelling him a "chucker", but added that it would not be easy for the conservative former leader to get South Asian nations on-side.

"It won't be an easy job.”