Chris Cairns on February 14, 2006 – the day he announced he would retire from international cricket. Photo / Greg Bowker
Former Black Cap 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.
The Herald understands infection set in and Cairns is now fighting for his life. He will be transferred to a specialist hospital in Sydney soon.
According to a Newshub report, he has undergone several operations while in hospital, but has not responded to treatment as hoped.
Former Black Caps teammate Andre Adams said on social media his thoughts and prayers are with Cairns and his family.
“Horrid situation and hoping for the best,” Adams posted.
Fans were quick to share their support for Cairns, with many wishing him a speedy recovery and reminiscing about his memorable moments for New Zealand.
“Oh no. This is awful. Chris Cairns is responsible for one of my most treasured cricket memories: NZ v RSA at the Gabba for my 15th birthday. We were on the brink of defeat and he blasted an unbeaten century. And I admire the work he did for rail safety after his sister died,” one wrote.
Australian journalist Brendan Bradford added: “Ah man this is awful. Chris Cairns was an absolute icon when I was growing up. A genuine superstar. Hope he pulls through this.”
NRL journalist Brad Walter wrote: “Terrible news. I used to love watching Chris Cairns bat and bowl. He was the Kiwi version of Gary Gilmour.”
Cairns, 51, the son of Black Cap legend Lance Cairns, was a right-hand batsman and fast-medium bowler. He was known as one of the finest all-rounders of his generation.
Cairns played 62 test matches, 215 one day internationals and two T20s for New Zealand between 1989 and 2006. He went on to become a commentator with Sky Sport.
Cairns has been living and working in Canberra with his wife Mel and their children for several years.
He has been the chief executive of SmartSportz, a company specialising in virtual sport.
Cairns had to rebuild his life after walking out of Southwark Crown Court in London in 2015 after being found not guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice charges in relation to match-fixing allegations.
The allegations took a huge toll on the cricketer’s life.
He described his reputation as “completely scorched” from the saga and spoke of going through “hell” during the perjury trial.
He was first named as one of 11 “tainted” cricketers in the now defunct Indian Cricket League in a 2009 email between International Cricket Council investigators.
Cairns took part in the ICL, which ran for two seasons in India from 2007 to 2009.
But in 2010, Indian millionaire businessman Lalit Modi, a former boss of the Indian Premier League, posted a tweet saying Cairns had been removed from the player auction for the IPL due to a “past record of match fixing”.
Cairns quickly launched a defamation case against Modi in London.
Two years later in 2012, Cairns won the libel trial and was awarded damages from Modi.
Yet his troubles weren’t over as he faced allegations from fellow New Zealand cricketers Lou Vincent and Brendon McCullum that he had tried to recruit them to fix matches.
It was not until Cairns was found not guilty of perjury in relation to match fixing allegations in 2015 in a London court that he was able to finally clear his name.