New Zealand news August 21, 2013

Feel fortunate it's just six-month ban - Ryder

ESPNcricinfo staff

Jesse Ryder, the New Zealand batsman, has admitted it was carelessness on his part that led to his consuming a banned substance, and that he was relieved to have been banned for only six months.

"It was definitely no one else's fault but mine for taking the pill. I did all the research and found nothing wrong with them. My one fault - other than taking them - was not contacting Drug Free Sport NZ [to check whether the pill was on a banned list]," Ryder told Fairfax Media. "It has been a long few months, not knowing if I've still got a career left or not; if you fail a test you can get two years. I feel fortunate. Six months was what I was hoping for. It wasn't the worst I could have got."

Ryder cannot participate in cricket-related activity until October 19, following the ban handed out by the New Zealand Sports Tribunal for failing a drug test during a Ford Trophy match in March. He was informed of the positive result on April 12 and faced a hearing earlier this month.

Ryder said he had consulted with Stephen Hotter, the strength and conditioning trainer of Wellington - the team he was playing for at the time - about the product, which he consumed to supplement his weight-loss programme. Hotter confirmed the product's ingredients were not on the banned list but, according to New Zealand papers, it turned out that the banned substances in question were not disclosed on the product label, indicating contamination at the time of manufacture or mislabelling.

"He [Hotter] is a good man and I get on well with him. I still respect him," Ryder said. "It was my doing, I just asked for his knowledge and his help. He never once said to me 'take them' or anything like that."

Ryder is currently recuperating from the injuries - including a skull fracture and a collapsed lung - he picked up when assaulted outside a pub in Christchurch in March. He is currently "80%" fit, he said, and hopes to return to top-level cricket during the course of the New Zealand summer. "I've been working pretty hard over the last couple of months. My head still holds me back a little but it's definitely a lot better than what it was.

"It's always going to be a time thing and I have seen improvement so hopefully it just continues. If I'm hitting the ball well on the [bowling] machine I figure I'll be pretty good to go [in late October]. All going well I'd push for the West Indies tour [in December] but that's probably not realistic. I'd have to perform pretty well over the start of the summer to get a look in at that. Hopefully all going well, the India series [in February 2014].''

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