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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 10:49 GMT
Murali has fans' respect - Warne
Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan at a fund-raising match for tsunami victims in New Zealand last year
If the crowds are having a go at him that means they're worried about him
Warne on Muralitharan
Shane Warne says Muttiah Muralitharan can expect hostility when he plays for Sri Lanka in the VB series in Australia - but he should see it as a positive.

Muralitharan missed the 2004 tour after barracking by crowds and Prime Minister John Howard called him a "chucker".

The off-spinner says he is returning to thank the Australian public for their generous response to the Asian tsunami.

"Murali's going to get a hard time from the crowds but it's a sign of respect for him," leg-spinner Warne insisted.

"If they're having a go at him that means they're worried about him and they want to try and put him off.

"For Murali, he's actually got to think that's a great thing to happen."

The 2003 VB Series was the last appearance for Sri Lanka in Australia by Muralitharan, who has taken 395 wickets in one-dayers and 584 in Tests - second only to Warne's world-record 659.

He has played there since in a fund-raising game for victims of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and featured for a World XI in last October's Super Series against Australia.

Sri Lanka face the hosts in the opening game of this year's tournament in Melbourne on Friday, with South Africa taking on the Aussies in Brisbane on Sunday.

Each team faces each other four times before the top two sides play in a best-of-three finals series starting in Adelaide on 10 February.


SEE ALSO
Murali coaxed back to Australia
10 Jan 06 |  Cricket
VB Series 2006
20 May 05 |  Future tour dates


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