Jesse Ryder should have been happy at securing a New Zealand Cricket contract on Monday but instead the prospect of potentially missing the ODI tour of England was weighing him down. Ryder was one of the 20 men to be offered national deals for 2008-09 and although he said he was "stoked" to get the news, his ongoing hand injury remained a concern.
Ryder sustained tendon damage around his thumb and forefinger when he punched a window in a bar in February. He was therefore unavailable for the Test series in England but was picked for the ODIs, which start in June, although even that could be too soon for a return. "My main worry is the hand, it's going to be touch and go," Ryder told the Dominion Post.
He is hoping to start batting by the end of the month and, provided all goes well, he will warm up for the five-match contest with a club cricket stint in England. Peter Fulton is on standby to replace Ryder should his hand not recover in time.
While there was restrained joy for Ryder at receiving a contract, there was no good news for Craig Cumming, Mathew Sinclair, Michael Papps or Matthew Bell, all of whom were axed. Bell said it was hard to go from being part of New Zealand's most recent Test to not being in their top 20 players in the space of three weeks, especially after such a prolific domestic season.
"I'm gutted, I'm not going on the tour and now I haven't got a contract, it's pretty disappointing," Bell said. "I had a big year, not many people score 1000 first-class runs [1016 at 53.47]. I admit I had a bad last month and I'm paying a pretty big penalty for it. I've just got to take it on the chin I suppose. I've got a review on Thursday where I'll ask a few questions."
However, Bell is considering playing club cricket in England to make himself available should injuries strike New Zealand during their tour. In his five Tests during the past season, Bell scored 245 runs at 30.62, although he also made three ducks in the home series against England.