India v New Zealand, Game 6, TVS Cup, Cuttack November 6, 2003

Cairns ruled out of Cuttack match

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Chris Cairns: the injury woes continue
© Getty Images

Chris Cairns has been ruled out of New Zealand's crucial TVS Cup match against India at Cuttack. Cairns failed to recover from a hamstring injury which forced him to leave the field midway during their match against Australia at Pune on November 3. "Cairns hasn't come through," confirmed Ashley Ross, the New Zealand coach, after Cairns failed a fitness test.

Meanwhile, Rahul Dravid has asked for an improved performance from the Indian middle order. Speaking to reporters on the eve of their match against New Zealand, Dravid said: "The middle-order batting is an area that needs work. We have to do better while batting second. I don't know of any plans to change the batting order, but we have to be as flexible as possible."

He also called for a better display from Zaheer Khan, especially with the new ball. "Our bowlers are capable of doing better, particularly Zaheer. He did well in Gwalior, but something went wrong in Mumbai. He is working hard and should do better in the first 15 overs, because that is a key time."

The Indian team will be without Anil Kumble, who opted out of the match due to his father's death. Sairaj Bahutule has been included in the squad, but Ashish Nehra - who has recovered from his ankle surgery - or Murali Kartik are the frontrunners to replace Kumble.