New Zealand news October 20, 2013

Ryder targeting return to NZ side

ESPNcricinfo staff

New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder is hoping to make a return to the international side for the upcoming home tours against West Indies and India. Ryder, who completed his six-month ban period after testing positive to a drug test in March, will be starting the season with Otago's first Plunket Shield game against Wellington.

"My main goal is to play for New Zealand again," Ryder told Fairfax NZ news. "All going well, I'd like to push for the West Indies tour. But, definitely, the main aim is to try and earn a call-up in time for that Indian tour [in January] if they don't pick me for the West Indies tour."

New Zealand is hosting West Indies for a tour that commences on December 3 and includes three Tests, five ODIs and two T20s. It is immediately followed by five ODI and two Tests against India in January and February.

If Ryder is to make a return for the West Indies tour, he has two Plunket Shield matches and four HRV Cup matches to impress the selectors, and he felt he is in shape for the start of the season.

"The body's pretty good," Ryder said. "I'm still suffering a little with the head, you know - just some light-headedness. But that's slowly getting better. I've been training hard and everything's coming along really well."

Ryder, who had taken time off cricket in 2012, returned later in the summer last year and scored heavily in the domestic matches, reeling off 1479 runs at an average of 49.30 across formats. In March 2013, Ryder was assaulted outside a bar in Christchurch and spent two days in a medically induced coma before making a recovery. But he still struggles to remember what had actually happened.

''I look back and think I am lucky not to be dead,'' Ryder said. "'I couldn't really believe it. I didn't know where I was, what had happened. Someone told me I'd been jumped, hit from behind and had whacked my head. It was just black. I just woke up [in hospital] all of a sudden after 56 hours or so, I think it was, just bang, like that.

"At first, I just couldn't walk properly. My balance was just so off and I was struggling to walk and the weakness was crazy. It took ages to get back to normal. I would love to actually take this opportunity to thank all the people who supported me through that time. It was overwhelming."

Ryder announced his decision to leave Wellington in July and represent Otago in the forthcoming domestic season. One month later, he was banned from taking part in any cricket-related activity after testing positive during a routine drug test while playing a Ford Trophy match for Wellington on March 24. The ban ended on October 19.

"I'm not going to bother with supplements anymore," Ryder, who had admitted his carelessness in consuming the banned substance, said. "They are a waste of time and I definitely don't want to ever go through that again."

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  • Harmon on October 21, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    Wow, just a few months back this man was in coma and many feared we would never see him back in action. I hope he is picked and is able to hit peak form in little time cos he is quite a lovely player and NZ do need him. Wishing him bets of luck and congratulations for a nice and full recovery. I also hope he is done with his quota of controversies now and the next controversy he faces will be when he is 65 years old.

  • Beau on October 20, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    I'd love to see Ryder back. On current form it's McCulllum's spot under pressure if and when Jesse returns.

  • Saif on October 20, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    NZ can do without him, who just wants to be in the news, and wants attention on himself all the time. Everytime the team is moving on, he comes back, people say "we cant afford to lose him" only for his problems to become bigger than the teams! Focus ur attention on Dean Brownlie, BJ Watling, Kane W, make these young ones better players, plus Hamish and Corey as the next wave. Please guys, lets not waste time on this guy. He is not worth the attention, trust me.

  • Steve on October 20, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    I hope Ryder can put his past transgressions behind and become a more responsible person. Nearing 30, this will be his last chance to play at highest level. Luckily for him, there are batting spots to grab in NZ batting order. For my money, he should open in all formats. If he and Guptil can set a good foundation at top, NZ will be a force to reckon with for any team.

  • Harman on October 20, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    @Andy Parry - please let Williamson focus on his batting, he is only starting to build a little bit of consistency into his game. burden him with the captaincy and we may well lose our best batting prospect since crowe.

    would love to see ryder back in the team, provided he gets some runs under his belt in the domestic games. perhaps start with the limited overs matches against WI and then ease into test cricket against india.

    lastly, leave mccullum alone. he's fine where he is and doing a decent job.

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    @ Siltbreeze: Give the captaincy to Williamson. It worked with Fleming to give it to a young guy (and Fleming still became our highest run-scorer in test history). He is only a year younger than Fleming was when he became captain and I think he already has more centuries than Fleming had when he became captain.

  • jared on October 20, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    @ Snowbadger15 just think bracewells skill set is better suited to the odi stuff and milne's are better suited to test cricket,we need to keep developing these young bowlers and manage their work loads so that was my thinking there, exposing these guys to at least one form of the game internationally is an ideal way to develop depth for injury cover and competition for spots, too many of our players get too comfortable and under perform, giving them one or two jobs to focus on rather than all 3 formats should also improve performance.

  • Martin on October 20, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    As an English fan I agree that a fit and in-form Ryder gets in your best XI in all formats, but really surprised by the anti-McCullum sentiment here. Having had two tough series against NZ in the last 12 months, everyone here was impressed with McCullum's positive captaincy. Who would you replace him with? Back to Taylor??!!

  • Dummy4 on October 20, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    Calling McCullums batting inconsistent is being unfair! He has beén consistently poor with the bat for a long time now. All the more reason to bring in a class act like Ryder, but only if he stays out of trouble which seems unlikely...

  • William on October 20, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut some very valid points but why include bracewell in the odi squad ? Jesse's want to play for the black caps and should be accommodated at all costs which as kiwicricketnut said, mccullum must be removed from the test squad asap otherwise our line can never be as strong as possible. Odi squad : guptill,ryder,williamson,taylor,mccullum,anderson,neesham/latham,mcullum(don't think vettori will play odi's)southee,milne,mcclenaghan. T20I : guptill,ryder,mcccullum,taylor,anderson,neesham,latham,mcculum,southee,hira,mcclenaghan.

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