Jesse Ryder, the New Zealand batsman who had taken an indefinite break from cricket to resolve personal issues, will play for his IPL franchise Pune Warriors in the fifth season of the league, beginning on April 4. Ryder will be supported in India by his manager Aaron Klee and clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo.
"Jesse has been making steady progress over the past few weeks. While the IPL has clear challenges, and is a big step, I believe he's ready to take it," Nimmo said. "Cricket is Jesse's job and what he's good at, so I was keen to see him return to the game as soon as practical, but only with the right structures in place."
Klee said Ryder was going to significant extents and expense to overcome his issues, and that their planning of his recovery was thorough. "Karen is travelling to India the day after Jesse and will continue her work with him there while I'll be going over a little later to carry that work on," Klee said. "The franchise has been wonderful and Jesse is desperate to perform on and off the field, and get his career back on track.
"We are also very grateful for the support of New Zealand Cricket [NZC] and Cricket Wellington for their assistance and support. Also, Heath Mills [New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief] has been incredible in his support as always."
NZC chief executive David White was supportive of the move. "It's really positive that Jesse has reached the point where here is ready to play competitive cricket again," he said. "He has clear expectations from NZC in terms of what is required from him to make a return to international cricket and playing in the IPL is a good first step. We are proud of the progress he has made and we will continue to support him through what has been a tough time."
On March 8, Klee had issued a statement saying Ryder had pulled out of Wellington's squad for their Plunket Shield match against Northern Districts and had not decided when he would make himself available again. The announcement came a week after Ryder was dropped from the New Zealand squad for the third ODI against South Africa for breaking team protocol, and then left out of the Test series as well.
After the defeat in the second ODI against South Africa, Ryder, along with Doug Bracewell, went to a hotel and became involved in an argument with a patron. "Team protocols dictate that players who are rehabilitating from injury should not consume alcohol and unfortunately both players went to a Napier hotel following the conclusion of the match," NZC had said in a release. "Also, while at the hotel both players verbally reacted to taunts from a member for the public."
The incident was the latest of Ryder's several indiscretions. In August 2010, Ryder was fined for "intoxicated and rowdy" behaviour at a hotel during an indoor cricket tournament and he said he had feared for his career while NZC was investigating the incident. The most serious of Ryder's indiscretions was in 2008, when he put his right hand through a glass window during a late-night session at a Christchurch bar. In January 2009, NZC said Ryder had given up alcohol after another incident, which resulted in him missing an ODI against West Indies.
Edited by George Binoy