Cairns still playing to win

There will be no let up from Chris Cairns in his final BLACKCAPS match – not that anyone expected one.

The Twenty20 game against the West Indies at Eden Park is to be the 277th and last time the all-rounder competes for his country.

And despite the game acting as his valediction from the international stage, there is going to no let up in the spirited style fans have become accustomed to over the years.

He said: “I suppose it’s all about your own personal standards. For me, playing the game is all about winning.”

That said, the scene is set for the nation’s goodbye to one of its all-time sporting heroes.

“Eden Park’s a wonderful place and it’s a great opportunity to say goodbye in NZ,” he said. “It’ll be an emotional occasion, that’s for sure.

Always the man for the big occasion, he left domestic cricket with a trademark flourish.

Four wickets and an unbeaten innings of 41, polished off with a decisive six over long-on helped capture the State Shield for State Canterbury Wizards.

He admitted: “Man of the match again would be nice! It’s a little different to Sunday, where that was effectively a proper competition, where this is a more of a tour opener.

“However, this has become a bit of a tradition, a prelude to the tour and there’ll be a good festival atmosphere and more of a relaxed environment.”

Cairns joins the BLACKCAPS for the first match of The National Bank Series.

The other 13 members of the squad will contest the first two One-Day Internationals against the tourists, in Wellington (February 18) and Queenstown (Feb 22).

BLACKCAPS (from): Stephen Fleming (captain), Daniel Vettori (vice captain), Chris Cairns, Jamie How, Lou Vincent, Peter Fulton, Hamish Marshall, Nathan Astle, Scott Styris, Brendon McCullum, James Franklin, Jeetan Patel, Shane Bond, Michael Mason.

West Indies (from): Shivnarine Chanderpaul (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Christopher Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Daren Ganga, Runako Morton, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Denesh Ramdin, Rawl Lewis, Ian Bradshaw, Deighton Butler, Fidel Edwards, Jerome Taylor.

For ticket information for Cairns' Final Blast. or call 0508 Cricket.

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