Zimbabwe v New Zealand, only Test, Bulawayo October 31, 2011

Ryder may have to give up bowling - Taylor

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ross Taylor, the New Zealand captain, has said Jesse Ryder could be forced to give up bowling and play as a specialist batsman, given how prone he is to injury. Ryder was ruled out of New Zealand's one-off Test against Zimbabwe, which begins in Bulawayo on November 1, because of a calf strain he picked up while bowling in a warm-up game.

"It [such a decision] is not far away," Taylor told Radio Sport. "With the no-runner rule in all forms, it [Ryder's fitness] becomes an issue. His track record [with injuries] has been average to say the least, but he's still one of our best players and we've got to try and keep him on the park as much as possible.

"As captain I want Jesse to bowl as well, but I'd rather Jesse bat and score a lot of runs than bowl and get injured."

Ryder missed the ODI-leg of the India tour in November 2010 as well after straining his calf muscle. Previously, he had picked up injuries to his elbow, groin and abductor muscle.

Apart from Ryder, New Zealand were also missing Tim Southee and Kyle Mills for the Bulawayo Test due to injury, and Andy McKay is also ill. However, they are bolstered by the addition of former captain Daniel Vettori to the squad. Taylor, who is playing his first Test as full-time captain, said he would use Vettori's vast experience.

"I'd be stupid and naive not to seek a guy who's played 100 Tests and is the former captain," Taylor said. "I've been in his ear a lot and getting a feel for what he thinks [in the build-up to the Test], and Brendon McCullum also has been outstanding."

Taylor, who took over the New Zealand captaincy in June, said he was still coming to terms with the demands of the job. "I'm still getting to grips with it, still getting to know the players a bit better, developing a relationship with John Wright [the coach] and the management, and getting to know my style [of captaincy] as well.

"It was a little bit of a struggle early on to be honest. It's totally different captaining the team on a one-off basis as vice-captain, and taking over the team full stop. But I've thoroughly enjoyed it. 'Struggle' is probably not the right word to use - it just takes adjusting to. Like anything it's not going to be smooth sailing the whole way, but it's been really good."

New Zealand were clinical in the first four limited-overs games in Harare but slipped up in the last match in Bulawayo, where Zimbabwe chased 329.

"That one-day game was [played in] 42 degrees [Celsius heat], and our bowlers struggled to bowl longer than three- or four-over spells," Taylor said. "We're going to have to try and get a little bit more out of our bowlers in terms of spells [during the Test]."

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  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2011, 21:58 GMT

    Guptil, Williamson and Brownlie can bowl... a bit. I really wonder why NZ persevere with Patel. Nathan McCullum is probably less experienced, however it would lengthen the batting order, with Young being... old. He's also a bit hit and miss at this level. James Franklin could be an option... I'm surprised he isn't used more by the selectors. Certainly would bring more to a test than Watling, as would McCullum.

    Ryder does need to lose weight. When the force of your weight is amplified by bowling (probably about 10 times at Jesse's pace) it does put an incredible strain on the body. Even if he lost a kilo, which is nothing, that could make a large difference between injured or uninjured while bowling.

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2011, 1:07 GMT

    Surely he meant to say "Ryder may have to give up eating(a bit)", to put less strain on his poor calf muscle?

  • Alan on November 2, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    There's nothing about a player who is predominantly a batsman coming to bowl less and less as his career progresses (e.g., Clive Lloyd, Steve Waugh, Viv Richards, Marcus Trescothick, Mike Atherton, Ian Bell). However I find it slightly bizarre it should be suggested that the abolition of runners makes that much difference to how a player is used. Surely it should not make this much difference. It's almost as if it had been a consistent part of his team's strategy (albeit not Plan A) to use a runner for Ryder if he got a bit knackered after bowling a few overs.

  • al on November 1, 2011, 23:27 GMT

    Relaly like this guy.. he puts a bit o Pak or WI like charm in the NZ order.

  • Dummy4 on November 1, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    Surely he meant to say "Ryder may have to give up eating(a bit)", to put less strain on his poor calf muscle?

  • Senthil on November 1, 2011, 13:33 GMT

    Hope Ryder gets fit and has a long career. He is a very good batsman.

  • Dummy4 on November 1, 2011, 12:18 GMT

    @robert hanion- NZ couldn't possibly have done what you are suggestion for a simple reason. It is because Oram was primarily a bowler and was in the team mainly for his bowling skills than for his batting and it wouldn't have made sense to ask him stop bowling but Jesse is in the team for his batting prowess and NZ is not going to loose out on so much even if he gives up bowling.

  • Ajay on November 1, 2011, 6:12 GMT

    Jesse should work on his fitness, he is a class player, like Freddie Flintoff. We should not miss Jesse like we miss Freddie

  • Dummy4 on November 1, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    new zealand have always had guys who batted in the top 6 n bowled nathan astle,craig mcmillan,chris harris etc etc so if ryder has to give up bowling so hes fit to play then its not a big problem there will b others jimmy franklin should b in the team n graeme aldridge is a disgraceful selection

  • Dummy4 on November 1, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    They never asked Jacob Oram to give up bowling. And he was just as injury prone

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