Chris Cairns Biography
Chris Cairns’ physique would have made him a powerhouse in rugby. He may well have played for the famous All-Blacks had he sustained his interest in a game that won saw him represent the Kiwi under-17s against Australia.
Cairns played just 62 Tests, while missed out on 57 Tests because of injuries ranging from back, knee, shoulder and groin problems, stress fractures, kidney ailment, ruptured spleen etc. Yet, at the time of his retirement he finished alongside Garfield Sobers, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Ian Botham, Sir Richard Hadlee and Shaun Pollock in the exclusive club of Test all-rounders with 3000 runs and 200 wickets.
ODIs were right up his alley. When he quit, he had played 215 ODIs in which he took 201 wickets and ended up just 50 runs short of 5000 runs — a double only Sanath Jayasuriya, Shahid Afridi and Jacques Kallis have achieved.
New Zealand’s biggest win on the world stage was Champions Trophy title at Nairobi in 2000, which Cairns mastermind with a man-of-the-match-winning 102 in the final against India after his team was in trouble at 132 for five, chasing 265.
Cairns's piece de resistance came on the tour of England in 1999. His six for 76 saw New Zealand win by nine wickets at Lord's. And in the decider at The Oval, he got five for 31 in the England second innings to raise New Zealand’s hopes of a series victory.
On his day, he can be as devastating and audacious with the bat. He once took on Shane Warne facing the square-leg, and drove the ball straight out of the ground over the square-leg for a six!
The 87 sixes he hit in his Test career was once a world record. He is also among the handful who has hammered over 100 sixes in ODIs — 153 to be precise.
Cairns was a flawed genius. He had a major row with coach Glenn Turner that led to his infamous walk-out on the 1995-96 tour to the West Indies and then there was also the infamous incident when he reportedly came back in an inebriated state in the wee hours of morning during the course of a Test match. Post his playing career he is plagued by allegations of match-fixing.
It’s a pity that such a talented player has left the world stage as a relative under-achiever.