New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder has been banned for six months after failing a drug test in March. He will be available to play again after October 19, once the retrospective penalty ends.
Ryder underwent a routine drug test while playing a Ford Trophy match for Wellington on March 24. He tested positive for 1-Phenylbutan-2-amine (PBA) and N, alpha-diethyl-benzeneethanamine (DEBEA), which are banned in sports.
Ryder was informed of the result on April 12 and attended a hearing before the New Zealand Sports Tribunal earlier this month, where the ban was handed down. The batsman will not contest the decision of the tribunal.
According to the Tribunal, Ryder "'may not during the period of ineligibility participate in any capacity in a competition or activity authorised or organised by New Zealand Cricket or a cricket club or other member organisation''.
The mandatory punishment for a drug violation is a two-year ban, but Ryder was given a lighter sentence because he could establish that he did not use drugs to improve his performance. He was also able to attribute the source of the drugs to a dietary supplement that he was taking as part of a weight-loss programme.
According to news reports, Ryder made some enquiries about the supplement on his own and decided to take it after concluding that it did not contain any banned substances. However, he did not contact Drug Free Sport, an anti-doping organisation, to check whether the product was on its list of banned substances. After he tested positive, he commissioned an independent forensic analysis, which confirmed the presence of the substances and traced them to the dietary supplement.
In a statement released by the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association, Ryder said: "I'm devastated by this situation. I've never taken drugs and to be in this situation distresses me greatly. I simply took the supplement alongside a training programme I was completing to help me lose weight. I have attended anti-doping education seminars during my time in cricket and am a strong supporter of Drug Free Sport New Zealand. I'm aware of the precautions you need to take; I did take steps to check the supplement but ultimately it was my responsibility and I accept that. Whilst everyone is aware of my well-documented battles with alcohol, it's important for me to state that I abhor drug use of any kind, both recreational and performance-enhancing in sport.''
Ryder, who has played 18 Tests and 39 ODIs for New Zealand so far, took a sabbatical from international cricket in 2012, choosing to focus on his fitness and domestic cricket. Earlier this year, Ryder was assaulted outside a bar in Christchurch and spent two days in a medically induced coma before making a recovery. In July, Ryder announced his decision to leave Wellington and represent Otago in the forthcoming domestic season.