Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns is in good spirits as he continues his recovery after a series of life-threatening surgeries left him paralysed waist down. The 51-year-old suffered an aortic dissection in August and was on life support.
Speaking from a special rehabilitation facility at the University of Canberra hospital, Cairns, in a lighter vein, says, “this is currently the biggest challenge I have ever faced, and that includes bowling to Sachin Tendulkar in India. Actually, bowling to Sachin anywhere in the world was hard! (smiles).”
Cairns, the son of former Test player Lance Cairns, played 62 Tests and 215 ODIs for New Zealand between 1989 and 2006. He is keeping himself busy by watching “every movie on Netflix…twice! I enjoyed the T20 World Cup along with the Ashes now being played in Australia.
READ: Langer may seek extension of contract with Cricket Australia
“Movie wise, I love anything with Matt Damon or Christian Bale. TV series-wise I’m currently engrossed in Yellowstone featuring Kevin Costner.”
Cairns is also a “massive” NFL fan and supporter of the New England Patriots. “The playoffs are shaping up well for us, so Go Pats!,” he exclaims.
Cairns believes his cricketing career is helping his recovery. “Rehab can be very boring and monotonous, but having done it many times, I’m acutely aware of what’s needed and am prepared mentally for it.”
Cairns spends five hours a day in the gym, from 9 AM to 12 PM and then 1 PM to 3 PM. He does a lot of leg swings using pulley systems to reduce gravity and uses a tilt table for leg squats and training the upper body to increase strength for transfers from the wheelchair.
“It is six days a week in the rehab hospital facility in Canberra,” says Cairns.
READ: New Zealand drops history man Ajaz Patel for Bangladesh Test series
Amid all this, he still has cricket on his mind. He talks about how the Black Caps under Gary Stead and Kane Williamson “are the most rounded team in world cricket currently. Their run of form in world competitions over the last several years is a testament to all involved within NZ Cricket. They are playing some brilliant cricket to date with the World Test Championship win against India the recent highlight.”
He also weighs in on the England side and the 2-0 scoreline in the ongoing Ashes. “This appears to be an understrength English team in Australia,” he says.
“Lack of top-order runs will always be problematic in Australia and a successful touring team must also have a reliable spinner. These were all things India had last summer and it was no coincidence they succeeded here.”