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Cairns saves his pace for W. Cup

New Zealand's Chris Cairns said Thursday he hoped to have recovered sufficiently from a knee injury to bowl at the World Cup.
By Agence France-Presse | PTI, Auckland
PUBLISHED ON JAN 09, 2003 05:17 PM IST

Ace New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns said Thursday he hoped to have recovered sufficiently from a knee injury to bowl at next month's World Cup in South Africa.

Cairns on Wednesday returned to international cricket after a long layoff in the fifth one-dayer of the ongoing seven-match series against India, but as a specialist batsman.

"I am now just bowling in the nets and building up for South Africa," said Cairns.

"I still have four weeks to go, so I am very hopeful of bowling in the World Cup. I am working towards giving Stephen Fleming (New Zealand captain) an option in South Africa.

"But I won't be bowling in these one-dayers (against India) at all."

Cairns, 32, is considered one of the best all-rounders in the world, having captured 154 wickets and scored 3,639 runs with four centuries in 152 one-day international since making his debut against England at home in 1990-91.

Cairns said he believed that the injury was still playing on his mind in the comeback match.

"I'd be lying if I say it wasn't, but the only way to get rid of the fear is by playing. I can go a bit more in the next game and so on," he said.

The all-rounder said he was just happy to be back despite scoring only 25 against the tourists at Wellington.

"I think I was probably a little bit too aggressive," said Cairns, who cracked four boundaries in his 32-ball knock.

"I just wanted to go there and make a mark. It is good to get on the road and I now have to get down to work. I am just happy to be back. It was just great to be back in the middle, even though we lost," he said.

"It was quite a different feeling actually because we had already won the series."

New Zealand had wrapped up the seven-match series before Wednesday's day-night game by winning the first four one-dayers.

Cairns conceded that batting had not been easy in the ongoing series because the pitches favoured the bowlers more.

"Batting has been a lot of hard work because of the seaming wickets, but they have been like this all summer," he said, adding the consistency in bowling was the key to his team's success.

"I think both sides have had the same conditions for bowling, but New Zealand were more consistent," he said.

"The biggest thing I have seen is that they (New Zealand seamers) have put the ball in the right areas. In the past, we have had guys coming in and bowling in helpful conditions but not putting the pressure on.

"So the consistency has been the biggest factor. We have been working on it for the last couple of years and New Zealand cricket is reaping the rewards now."

New Zealand fast bowlers Daryl Tuffey, Shane Bond and Jacob Oram all played big roles in their team's victories in Tests and one-dayers.

The hosts had also clinched a two-Test series 2-0.

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