Former New Zealand cricketer Lance Cairns, unwanted as a national selector after just a few months in the role, is coming to Christchurch to take a new coaching position with the Marist-Harewood club and St Bede's College.
Cairns, 61, who played 43 tests and 78 one-day internationals, will be director of coaching at the club and school in a joint initiative. The position was originally filled by Garry MacDonald. However, McDonald resigned to take a coaching role in Nelson.
Cairns, who was based in Gisborne, has no qualms about coming to earthquake-stricken Christchurch. He lived in the city for about five years a decade ago, when working with a fudge-making business run by son Chris. "I love Christchurch and I'm very keen on the role," Cairns said.
Cairns, a New Zealand under-19 selector, believed one of his strengths was identifying teenage talent and helping develop that talent to a bigger stage. "I'd like to think I can watch a guy bat or bowl for a while and have a fair idea about his ability and where he is heading," he said. Cairns said too many players burst onto the scene at youth level but were pushed too quickly and had a setback to either be lost to the sport or resurface a few years later. "I like working with them and getting bowlers working on line and length and batsmen working on building an innings," he said. "Sometimes we tend to interfere with techniques when this is what has been working for the youngster."
Cairns was reluctant to comment on the reasons for his dismissal as a New Zealand selector, having only been appointed in December. New cricket director John Buchanan is using a national selection manager to work alongside coach John Wright in picking the Black Caps. "They have gone down a new path, but I would still like to be involved with New Zealand Cricket and believe I have something to offer," Cairns said. In the meantime, Cairns will take up his new position in mid-August, about six weeks before the start of the Christchurch cricket season.
Marist-Harewood director of cricket Peter Boock said Cairns' publicised hearing loss was not an issue. "Previously, his hearing was only 7 per cent, but after surgery it is 75 per cent," Boock said. "We had Lance in Christchurch to interview him and were very impressed how the surgery had repaired his problems," he said. Boock said he used to play with Cairns in Dunedin. He said, at that time, Cairns could often not tell when a batsman had been caught behind from an edge.