Former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns is in critical condition and on life support in Australia after suffering a major medical emergency.

Cairns, 51, collapsed after suffering an aortic dissection -- described as a tear in the inner layer of the body's main artery -- while on a visit to Australia's capital Canberra last week, according to reports in several media outlets.

He is admitted to a hospital in Canberra but there are reports that he will be transferred to a specialist hospital in Sydney soon.

He has undergone many surgeries in Canberra but has not responded to the treatment as hoped. The reports also said that infection has set in and Cairns is now fighting for his life.

Cairns, one of the legends of New Zealand cricket is the son of former New Zealand star Lance Cairns, was a right-handed batsman and medium pacer, one of the best all-rounders of his generation.

He has played 62 Tests, 215 One-day Internationals and two T20 matches for New Zealand between 1989 and 2006. He is currently a commentator with Sky Sport.