Bracewell tribute to Cairns

BLACKCAPS coach John Bracewell conceded replacing retiring all-rounder Chris Cairns will prove tough.

Bracewell acknowledged that Cairns (pictured, with captain Stephen Fleming), who steps down after 17 years with the side, was a massive presence and he must plug the gap before next year’s World Cup.

He said: “The fact is we’d have had a better chance at the World Cup with a fit Christopher Cairns than we do at this point.

“But we’ve got 14 months to put that right. And I think it will take 14 months to put it right. They’re big boots to fill.”

Bracewell also said Cairns was one of cricket’s most talented and versatile players – ranking him with Sir Richard Hadlee as the best all-rounder the country has produced.

“All-rounders are a rare commodity and they are very very rare, because it’s such a hard job to do.

“He’s up there with the best, and statistically it says that anyway. We’ve had two genuine ones and I’ve had the privilege been involved with the two of them: Richard Hadlee and Christopher Cairns.

“It’s an incredible thing for New Zealand to produce two guys up there, for a minnow country, that are the best at their trade.”

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