Christopher Lance Cairns ONZM (born 13 June 1970) is a former New Zealand cricketer and former ODI captain, who played for the New Zealand cricket team as an all-rounder. Cairns finished his Test career with a batting average of 33.53 and a bowling average of 29.40. In 2000, he was named as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Year. He has appeared in ICC Cricket World Cup tournaments on 4 occasions in 1992, 1996, 1999 and 2003. He is regarded as one of the greatest allrounders of the game.[1] Cairns was a member of the New Zealand team that won the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy, the first time the country won an ICC trophy, and he had a major role in the final with 102 not out, and scored the winning run.

Chris Cairns

Personal information
Full name
Christopher Lance Cairns
Born (1970-06-13) 13 June 1970 (age 54)
Picton, New Zealand
BowlingRight arm fast
RelationsLance Cairns (father)
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 168)24 November 1989 v Australia
Last Test13 June 2004 v England
ODI debut (cap 76)13 February 1991 v England
Last ODI8 January 2006 v Sri Lanka
ODI shirt no.6
T20I debut17 February 2005 v Australia
Last T20I16 February 2006 v West Indies
Domestic team information
1988/89Northern Districts
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 62 215 217 424
Runs scored 3,320 4,950 10,702 10,367
Batting average 33.53 29.46 35.32 32.60
100s/50s 5/22 4/26 13/71 9/55
Top score 158 115 158 143
Balls bowled 11,698 8,168 16,620 16,620
Wickets 218 201 647 455
Bowling average 29.40 32.80 28.31 27.99
5 wickets in innings 13 1 30 6
10 wickets in match 1 0 6 0
Best bowling 7/27 5/42 8/47 6/12
Catches/stumpings 14/– 66/– 78/– 118/–
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 26 November 2008

He is son of former New Zealand cricketer Lance Cairns. He starred in both the One-day and Test New Zealand teams, as well as the Canterbury New Zealand domestic championship team. After his playing career Cairns went on to become a commentator with Sky Sport New Zealand.

Domestic career


Cairns also played for Northland in the Hawke Cup. He had joined the Indian Cricket League, and was the captain of the Chandigarh Lions till its closure in 2008. He later went on to play for Nottinghamshire in the English Twenty20 cup competition.

International career

Cairns batting

He was included in the New Zealand national under-19 cricket team for the 1988 Youth Cricket World Cup, which was also eventually the inaugural edition of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup.[2] He was later selected to the senior national team. He made his test debut against Australia on 24 November 1989.[3]

Cairns was a destructive batsman who could hit sixes straight down the ground and in his earlier days was an intelligent fast-medium bowler.[4] Since then, persistent injuries have forced him to drop his pace and rely more on his hard-to-read slower ball.

With the bat, Cairns has been the author of some of New Zealand cricket's most memorable innings, including his unbeaten 102 to win the final of the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy for New Zealand against India in Kenya,[5] and his 158 from just 172 balls in a Test against South Africa in 2004. Cairns knocked Shane Warne out of Australia's bowling attack during a 2000 test in Wellington when he launched several sixes out of the Basin Reserve and onto the adjacent street.[6] Cairns formerly held the world record for most sixes in Tests (87, since surpassed by Adam Gilchrist), and for a time held the New Zealand record for fastest century in ODIs (75 balls, currently owned by Corey Anderson with 36 balls).

ICC KnockOut Trophy


Cairns was also the part of the victorious New Zealand campaign during the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy where they beat India in the final to lift their first title in major ICC global event.[5][7] He played his part in the final and helped the Kiwis side, by scoring a match winning knock of 102* and was awarded the player of the final.[8][9] Finally New Zealand went onto win the final and registered the highest ever chase in an ICC Champions Trophy final (265).[10] He also went onto become the first player to score a century in an ICC Champions Trophy final (was previously called as ICC Knockout Trophy) in a winning cause.[citation needed] He became only the third player to score a century in a Champions Trophy final after Philo Wallace and Sourav Ganguly.[11]

Making history


In an ODI against India in 1999, he went onto become the second ever player in ODI history after Gordon Greenidge to score a century in his 100th ODI and became the first batsman to score a century in his 100th ODI in a winning cause. He is currently the only New Zealand player to achieve that milestone.[12][13]

Cairns' career-best bowling performance in Tests was 7/27 against the West Indies in 1999, and he is New Zealand's sixth highest wicket taker in Tests, after Richard Hadlee, Daniel Vettori, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, and Chris Martin.[14]

He is also one of only eight players to have reached the all-rounder's double of 200 wickets and 3000 runs. Out of these seven players, Cairns reached the double 3rd fastest (58 Test) behind Ian Botham and Kapil Dev (50 tests). In ODIs, Cairns came close to another double of 200 wickets and 5000 runs. Cairns finished his ODI career on 4950 runs, just 50 short. Cairns Test batting average at number seven (44.02) is the 5th best average for that position of all time.[15]

The New Zealand Herald journalist, Richard Boock said about Cairns: "It's not a scientific measure of course, but if Cairns' body had held together long enough for him to have played 100 Tests, his figures extrapolate out to something like 5334 runs and 351 wickets – very similar to those of Botham." He went on to say "He was, and should be remembered as, one of the game's best all-rounders."[16]

Late career


During the Lord's Test against England, he bowled England wicket-keeper Chris Read for zero. Read was ducking to the ball, what he thought was a beamer from Chris Cairns but was a well-disguised slower ball.

Cairns also played in the World Cricket Tsunami Appeal ODI, at the MCG. Cairns played for the ICC World XI and scored 69 off 47 balls before being stumped by Kumar Sangakkara off the bowling of Muttiah Muralitharan. During his innings, Cairns put a 91 run partnership on with his captain, Ricky Ponting. With the ball, Cairns picked up 1–37 off 6 overs.

Injuries plagued Cairns throughout his career. There remains some debate over his statistics and how they reflected his ability.[16] In Cairns career he played 62 Test and missed a further 55 due to injury. Sidharth Monga writing in 2009 that Cairns' career returns "were a poor justification of his prodigious talent."[4]


Cairns bowling for the Canterbury Wizards in 2006

Cairns retired from the New Zealand Test team in 2004.[17]

In the 2005 Queen's Birthday Honours, Cairns was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to cricket.[18]

On 22 January 2006, Cairns announced his retirement from ODIs in a press conference.[19] A Twenty20 match against the West Indies on 16 February 2006 was his last game representing New Zealand.[20] He was also part of the ICC World XI that played in the World Cricket Tsunami Appeal matches.

The New Zealand Herald compared his retirement to those of Michael Jordan and Björn Borg on 15 February 2006. Cairns also left the door open for a comeback, but said "I don't think I could ever be tempted back".[21]

In Cairns' final game, he bowled four overs for 24 and no wicket and scored a nine-ball duck, before being bowled by Chris Gayle. He also missed the stumps in both attempts during the bowl off. ESPNcricinfo describe his final international as "an unfitting farewell" and that "he deserved better".[22] He was named as the captain of the World XI for the 2009 ICL World Series Twenty 20 tournament which was set to be held in Hyderabad.[23] However, the proposed tournament was cancelled due to payment disputes.[24]

Alleged match fixing


In December 2013, Cairns was the subject of allegations in an ICC investigation into match-fixing.[25] He is alleged to have attempted to manipulate games in India when he was captain of the Chandigarh Lions in the short lived Indian Cricket League.[26] Cairns has rejected these claims.[27]

Former New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent, an admitted match fixer, has said that Cairns had approached him about fixing matches.[28][29] New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum also told the Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) of the International Cricket Council that Cairns made a match fixing approach to him.[30][31] Cairns insists that he has never fixed a match, saying Vincent wanted to "mitigate his sins by blaming others" and taking issue with McCullum having waited three years before approaching the ICC.[30][32][33]

In March 2012, Cairns successfully sued former Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi for libel, after Modi posted on Twitter in 2010 that Cairns had been involved in match-fixing during 2008.[34] He won costs and damages.[35][36] On 12 September 2014, the Metropolitan Police announced that they would charge Cairns with perjury stemming from the Modi libel trial.[37] He was acquitted of charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice on 30 November 2015.[38][39]

Personal life


In August 1993, Cairns' sister Louise was killed in a train accident at Rolleston. In 2006, in collaboration with Kiwi Rail, he formed the Chris Cairns Foundation, which raises money to improve rail safety; in September 2008 he completed a 1,001 km (622 mi) walk promoting rail safety awareness.[40]

Cairns is married to Melanie Croser, an Australian who works for the sports marketing group Octagon in Sydney. It is his third marriage. Cairns lives in Canberra and played for the local club North Canberra Gungahlin Eagles in the 2011/12 season.[citation needed]

On 10 August 2021, he was reported to be on life support after suffering a major heart attack resulting in aortic dissection in his home in Canberra, Australia about a week prior.[41][42] He was later transferred to St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney and was kept in an intensive care unit.[43][44][45][46] On 20 August 2021, Cairns was reported to be off life support and was able to communicate with his family.[47] However, Cairns became paralysed from the waist down due to suffering a stroke during the surgery.[48] On 19 September 2021, he recorded a message of gratitude on Twitter that he is recovering at home after being transferred to Spinal Unit on 10 September.[49] It was his first post on his Twitter in 7 years.[50]

On 5 February 2022, he revealed on his Instagram that he was diagnosed with bowel cancer after a routine check-up the day before.[51][52]


  1. ^ "Chris Cairns: One of the greatest all-rounders the game has seen". Cricket Country. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Full Scorecard of Australia vs New Zealand Only Test 1989/90 - Score Report". ESPNcricinfo. Archived from the original on 11 December 2020. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
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  5. ^ a b "The man behind New Zealand's world title". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  6. ^ Chris Cairns 71 vs Australia 3rd test 2000, retrieved 11 August 2021
  7. ^ "Cairns steers New Zealand to heroic victory over India in ICC KnockOut final". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
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  13. ^ "5th ODI: New Zealand v India at Christchurch, Jan 19, 1999. Cricket Scorecard". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
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  18. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2005". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 6 June 2005. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
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  20. ^ "An unfitting farewell". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  21. ^ Boock, Richard (15 February 2006). "Cairns prepares for final bow". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 September 2008.
  22. ^ Cleaver, Dylan (16 February 2006). "An unfitting farewell". ESPN. Retrieved 1 May 2012
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  24. ^ "ICL cancels World Series in March". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
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  26. ^ Chris Hewett (3 October 2014). "Chris Cairns in court to defend charge". The New Zealand Herald.
  27. ^ Chris Cairns named by NZ Test player's ex-wife in match-fixing testimony
  28. ^ Derek Pringle (1 July 2014). "Lou Vincent match-fixing apology puts Chris Cairns on spot". The Telegraph.
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  30. ^ a b "Cairns slams match-fixing accusers". 30 May 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
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  34. ^ "Modi set to sue Cairns for fraud". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  35. ^ "Cairns awarded $950,000 for libel". The New Zealand Herald. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  36. ^ "Cairns wins libel case against Modi". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
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  42. ^ "Cricket: Blackcaps great Chris Cairns on life support following medical event in Canberra". Newshub. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
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  48. ^ "NZ cricket great paralysed after life-saving surgery". Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  49. ^ "Chris Cairns receives NZ Cricket Players' Association support ahead of switch to spinal unit". Stuff. 10 September 2021. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  50. ^ @chriscairns168 (19 September 2021). "It's been a big 6 wks. On 4th August I suffered a Type A aortic dissection, a rare but serious condition. I required emergency surgery and from there a range of complications ensued and I ended up suffering a spinal stroke. A long road ahead, but I'm grateful to be here" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  51. ^ "Chris Cairns receives shock cancer diagnosis". NZ Herald. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  52. ^ "Chris Cairns diagnosed with bowel cancer". Cricbuzz. Retrieved 6 February 2022.