Paralysed Kiwi cricket great Cairns faces 'greatest challenge'

Staff Reporter 2021-09-21, 12:08am Cricket

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SYDNEY  - New Zealand cricket great Chris Cairns Monday said he was "facing possibly the greatest challenge" of his life after
being left paralysed following a stroke during a heart operation.

The 51-year-old, one of the world's top all-rounders in the early 2000s, underwent life-saving surgery last month when a tear developed in the lining
of a major artery.

  The Canberra-based former international had an emergency operation in
Sydney but suffered a stroke during the procedure, leaving him unable to use
his legs.

  In his first comments since, Cairns shared a video message on social media
in which he thanked the surgeons, doctors, nurses who "saved my life",
acknowledging there was "a long road ahead".

  "Just over six weeks ago, I suffered a type-A aortic dissection, which
essentially means there's a tear in one of the major arteries of the heart,"
he said.

  "I had several surgeries and grafts and very thankfully the specialists
were able to save the heart itself.

  "One of the complications that arose was a spinal stroke which in itself
will provide me with possibly the greatest challenge I've ever faced in rehab
going forward."

  Cairns played 62 Tests between 1989 and 2004, averaging 29.4 with the ball
and 33.53 with the bat, including 87 sixes -- a world record at the time.

  However, his on-field achievements were overshadowed by match-fixing
allegations, strongly denied by Cairns, that resulted in two court cases.

  He was cleared on both occasions but complained his reputation had been "scorched" regardless.BSS/AFP