Cricket-Cairns facing 'greatest challenge' after suffering spinal stroke

FILE PHOTO: Former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns gives a news conference on day four of the first international test cricket match against New Zealand, at Eden Park in Auckland, February 9, 2014. REUTERS/Nigel Marple/File Photo

(Reuters) - Former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns said he faces the "greatest challenge" he has ever faced after suffering a spinal stroke following life-saving treatment for a torn artery.

Cairns posted a video on social media on Sunday to thank medical teams in Canberra and Sydney, who treated the 51-year-old after he experienced an aortic dissection, a tear in the body's main artery.

"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," Cairns said in the video posted on Twitter.

"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.

"Huge thanks to the team here at Canberra Hospital, to St Vincent's in Sydney, the surgeons, the doctors, the nurses, the specialists – you saved my life."

Cairns initially had surgery in Canberra but the seriousness of the condition required him to be transferred to St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney for another operation.

Cairns played 62 tests, 215 one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches for New Zealand between 1989-2006 and has lived in Canberra for several years.

Following his retirement from international cricket, Cairns was alleged to be involved in matchfixing in India when he was captain of the Chandigarh Lions in the defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2008.

He denied any wrongdoing and fought several legal battles to clear his name, winning a libel case against former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi in 2012.

In 2015, he was cleared of perjury in relation to the libel case after being charged by Britain's Crown Prosecution Service.

(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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