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Man for a crisis

Chris Cairns wears his emotions on his sleeves. That's how he plays cricket and that's how he looks at life



New Zealand's all-rounder Chris Cairns in action

THE LANKY all-rounder is all class. As good as, if not better, than Andrew Flintoff in world cricket. It is probably wrong to ask Chris Cairns whether Andrew is the best if one thinks Chris is. But forgetting for a minute that one was speaking to perhaps the best all-rounder, one still did ask: "It's easy to answer the question. Andrew is a catalyst for English cricket. I think he's good." It's also probably awkward to ask the best man whether he thinks he's the best. In any case, looking at this man dive in the slips to pull off a catch, his tall frame in flight, is a sight to behold. When he bowls, he bowls the finest of seams, in and out. And when he bats, he bats big — decimation with flair. Man for a crisis. Chris, here for a promotional event, shared a few thoughts with MetroPlus. His decision to retire from Test cricket may have disappointed many, but he'll be there for one-dayers. "I've to take care of my body. I'd like to play in the 2007 World Cup. I will have played in five World Cups. But it will also depend on how fit I am and how I carry my form."

On Windies

He's happy that the Windies, after a long, long time, won a championship, the ICC, in England. There are a few cracks in the team, "but the win is a boost for the team, for cricket, and for those hit by the hurricane." He isn't entirely happy though that cricket is welcoming anyone and everyone too soon. "New teams should certainly play, but they can do so in a second grouping and graduate from there."

On the India-Australia series, he says an Indian win unlikely. "The Aussies are here with intense concentration and some guys realise this may be their last call in cricket and India. Shane may not come back. That's why they are determined to win."

The greatest

On Sachin. He has scores to his name, but is a bit patchy, has self-doubt somewhere, and injuries now. Where is Sachin heading? "He is probably the greatest player of your time. He's a remarkable man. He has lived up to expectations for 16 long years. That is a test of character." Also, it would do good to scale down expectations of Irfan Pathan to help him turn a world-beater. V.V.S. Laxman is the man to look out for because he plays his shots. Dravid? He's been doing very, very well against Australia. "Dravid would have been the greatest player in India and the world. He's just unlucky that Sachin is around."

Outside cricket, Chris loves golf, reads fiction, and likes Denzel Washington, John Travolta, and Tom Hanks. Russell Crowe is his neighbour. Chris says he'd like to spend more time with his family now. "I really miss them when I'm away." His children, Thomas and Bram, are free to do what they like. "If it is cricket, it's fine by me. If it's not, that too is fine by me."

If he's taking care of his body, could we see the charismatic Chris in 2007? "I am not a man to look to yesterday. I live today. And I look to tomorrow."

G.N.P.

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