Touted as one of the best all-rounders in world cricket, Christopher Cairns never quite lived up to his potential and gradually faded with time. He was a hard-hitting middle order batsman who was able to hit monstrous sixes straight down the ground and was a clever fast-medium pace bowler too. Consistent injuries during his career forced him to reduce his pace considerably though but he developed a hard to read slower delivery which was difficult for many batsmen to pick.
Cairns is one of only few all-rounders to have reached the landmark of taking 200 wickets and scoring at least 3000 runs in Tests. Cairns ended as New Zeland’s third highest wicket-taker, behind only Hadlee and Vettori. His best performance with the ball came in 1998 during a Test match between New Zealand and West Indies where he took 7 West Indian batsmen and gave away just 27 runs. With the bat, Cairns was as destructive as many modern day batsmen. He helped his team in the final of the ICC Knockout Trophy in Kenya in 2000 where he scored an unbeaten century against India to guide his team all the way. He hit a formidable 14 sixes in this innings and sent the Indians packing. He also achieved the rare feat of hitting Shane Warne out of the attack during a Test match in 2000 in Wellington. He formerly held the world record for most sixes in Test match cricket.
As mentioned earlier, Cairns possessed immense cricketing talent but was unable to harness it with the plethora of injuries he suffered throughout his career. Hence, his career figures did not look as pleasing as they could, or rather should have. He was a far better player than his career figures suggest.
Cairns retired from the Test team in 2004 but carried on playing in the one day format. In 2006, he called it quits from the ODI format as well and he played his last match for New Zealand in a T20I encounter against West Indies. Cairns used to play domestic and county cricket following his international retirement and he played for English county side Nottinghamshire and New Zealand side Canterbury.
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