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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Wishing Kiwi Chris Cairns speedy recovery !

His bat known as ‘Excalibur’ was in news for its odd shape and the way it was wielded by its big burly owner, hitting huge sixers !! Remember seeing him in action at Chepauk in 1976 – on day 1 – he took 5/55 including the wickets of Sunil Gavaskar, Anshuman Gaekwad, Mohinder Amarnath, Ashok Mankad & Srinivasan Venkatraghavan who scored 64 ! …. .. in 1985 at Perth he played his last Test failing to take wickets in both the innings and scoring a duck ! ~ this is no post on the Man, but on his son who courted fame and at times notoriety ! 


The son, had reasonable success in his career ~played 62 Tests making 3320 runs with 5 centuries; 4950 runs in 215 ODIs – 4 centuries, the first of which came at Pune.  Took 218 wickets in Tests and 201 in One dayers. Retired somewhat early from Tests in 2004; ODI in 2006, played in ICL, captained Chandigarh Lions.  The New Zealand Herald compared his retirement to those of Michael Jordan and Björn Borg – now in news for different reasons  !

Christopher Lance Cairns, also captained the Black Caps on seven occasions, usually when regular captain Stephen Fleming was unavailable. After his playing career Cairns went on to become a commentator with Sky Sport New Zealand. He came down to India played in ICL until he was suspended in October 2008. The public reason given for his suspension was under performance due to an ankle injury which put him in breach of his contract. But in the weeks and months that followed, Cairns and others were rumoured to be involved in match-fixing. Then in January 2010, Lalit Modi, chairman of the Indian Premier League, posted this message on this Twitter page: "Chris Cairns removed from IPL auction list due to his past record of match fixing. This was done by the Governing body today." The tweet was followed up by cricket news website, CricInfo, and then Cairns hit back by taking libel action against Modi in the High Court in the United Kingdom.

Chris Cairns was successful and was awarded £90,000 in damages after allegations on Twitter.  Mr Cairns's lawyer stated that the comments had tainted the career of his client, who played for Nottinghamshire before a spell in India.  In what was described as the ‘first Twitter libel case’ in England, a councillor in Caerphilly, Wales, was ordered to pay £3,000 and costs to a political rival for posting a libellous comment on Twitter.  In this case, Mr Modi was also ordered to pay Mr Cairns' £400,000 legal costs….. a few months later, he was in news again, this time for ‘perjury’ but  was  acquitted of perjury and perverting the course of justice after a jury at Southwark crown court returned a verdict of not guilty.  Both Cairns and co-defendant Andrew Fitch–Holland, who had faced the latter of the two charges, will walk away free men following a nine-week trial in London.   .

Cairns said on the court steps that despite being found not guilty he felt his reputation had been “completely scorched” and that there was no longer a future for him in cricket. “I think it would be pretty hard ever to go back into the game: there’s a lot of damage been done,” he stated.

After a decade now, at 51 years of age, there is sad news circulating on his ill-health. Chris Cairns is on life support after collapsing in Australia. It is understood Cairns suffered a major medical emergency - an aortic dissection - in Canberra last week. This is when a tear occurs in the inner layer of the body's main artery. According to a Newshub report, he has undergone several operations while in hospital, but has not responded to treatment as hoped. The Cairns family has endured personal tragedy. Chris Cairns' sister Louise was killed in 1993 when a cement truck failed to stop at a level crossing at Rolleston in the South Island and collided with the Southerner passenger train.

One of the media reports gives encouraging report stating Cairns Cairns was stabilised in Canberra last night, before being transferred to Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital — a recognised leader in Cardiology. He underwent surgery shortly after arrival, and is in a serious but stable condition in ICU," ….  Wishing that the all-rounder comes out successful after surgery and regains good health.

The Mongoose bat is not the first innovation – there have been some attempts earlier like the boutique shoulder-less blade used by Lance Cairns (the man referred in first para)  in the 1980s, known as "Excalibur".  In 1983 at MCG, big burly Lance Cairns struck lusty blows (6 sixers in 10 balls) making 52 off only 25 balls.  Cairns played in an era whence ODI was at its nascent stage.  Remember that he played when India toured New Zealand in 1981.  In a test at Basin Reserve, Wellington,  Kirti Azad, Yograj Singh (father of Yuvraj Singh) and a young Ravi Shastri who had just flown in as a replacement made their debuts.  Lance Cairns took 5 for 33. It is his son, Chris who is in news because of his ill-health.    The shoulders of  "Excalibur" bat were planed down to form a conical rather than rectangular shape.

Lance Cairns was a swing bowler with an unorthodox 'front on' action. He took 130 Test Match wickets and 89 ODI wickets. He took ten wickets in New Zealand's first ever win on English soil, at Headingley in 1983. Cairns has been profoundly deaf since age 17, and in 2009 he was fitted with a cochlear implant.  He is the Ambassador for The National Foundation for the Deaf Inc. and is instrumental in raising awareness for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities. Following his retirement from cricket, Cairns concentrated on his golf skills  …. .

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

11th Aug 2021.

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