Former New Zealand cricket all-rounder Chris Cairns has spent the last two years reinventing himself in the United Arab Emirates.
Now, playing a social form of cricket for a team in Dubai, Cairns, 40, has relaunched himself as a diamond dealer and trader.
He is also on his third marriage, to Mel Croser, a former Australian basketball star turned marketing executive. His sons, aged six and eight, now live with their mother, Carin, in South Africa.
“When you’ve committed so many years to sport, it’s often the easy track to coach or go into sports administration. It’s been really tough starting from zero. I spent half my life playing cricket. But I had to retrain myself to life after cricket. I still have a strong tie back to New Zealand,” the Dominion Post quoted Cairns, as saying.
Cairns has struggled with aspects of his personal life. His first marriage to his childhood sweetheart, Ruth Leslie, failed early on; his four-year marriage to Carin ended shortly before he met Croser in January 2008.
Cairns is hopeful about his third marriage being an enduring one.
“Mel is a wonderfully motivated woman - beautiful, spirited and with a minimal tolerance for the mundane,” the former cricketer said.
However, he refuses to reveal the reason for quitting professional cricket, but adds that Indian Premier League Commissioner Lalit Modi’s charge that he was involved in match fixing completely destroyed him in the cricket environment.
He says he needs to keep comments to a minimum.
Cairns and Croser shifted to Dubai about two years ago after he was offered a job through contacts who worked at Vijaydimon, a diamond trading company with offices around the world.
The couple chose Dubai because they wanted to be near Britain, where Cairns played most of his games and has friends, and also because Dubai was a neutral place where they could start again.
“There are fantastic restaurants and hotels. There’s a real glitz to the place because everything is brand new,” he says.
“Diamond trading is a very tough market to get into, but it’s a strong trade to learn. I looked at the opportunity and the market too. It’s a rare commodity.”
Cairns played 62 tests and 215 one-day internationals. His last match for the Black Caps was against the West Indies in 2006.
For now, he doesn’t know how long he and his wife will live in Dubai, but his sights are on England as their next home.