New Zealand news November 11, 2011

Ryder hopes to be fit for Australia tour

ESPNcricinfo staff

Jesse Ryder, who strained his calf during New Zealand's recently-concluded tour of Zimbabwe, has said his leg is on the mend and he hopes to be fully fit in time for the tour of Australia in December. He is not keen on giving up his part-time bowling duties to prolong his career, as was suggested by his captain Ross Taylor.

"The calf is good," Ryder said at a New Zealand Cricket event in Auckland. "I have just spent two-and-a-half days up in Napier, with the Firebirds [Wellington's first-class team] physio, trying to get it right. At the moment I'm pretty happy with where it is at, and hopefully I get to play next week in the Plunket Shield.

"It will be good to have a bat. I'm definitely keen to get a hit out there before hopefully getting selected for the Aussie tour." New Zealand are scheduled to play two Tests in Australia in the first half of December.

"I'm definitely keen to bowl," Ryder, who bowls medium pace, said. "It's just that, through a few injuries, I haven't really had the strength to bowl."

He had picked up the calf injury while bowling during New Zealand's practice game ahead of the one-off Test against Zimbabwe. "I hadn't bowled for five months so it probably wasn't my best idea to take the ball, I shouldn't have been bowling in the first place. So I won't be bowling [again] till I'm fully fit and strong."

Ryder has been prone to injury. He had missed the ODI leg of the India tour in November 2010 as well after straining his calf muscle. Before that, he had picked up injuries to his elbow, groin and abductor muscle. During the latest injury break, he worked on his overall fitness too, at Billy Graham's boxing academy gym in Naenae.

"I went down there most of the winter and learnt a few boxing skills," Ryder said. "I'm feeling pretty good at the moment. It was something I wanted to do myself.

"I'm always going to be looked at as being overweight. Fair enough, that's just people's opinions. But I know I'm fit enough to play cricket, spend a day in the field, bat for a day ... It's the bowling that has got me in trouble a bit, just with my [lack of the required] strength."

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