Is Ry­der ready for a re­turn?

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT -

Mike Hes­son needs to be a bit more ac­tive in catch­ing up with Jesse Ry­der, the prodi­gal son of New Zealand cricket. Ry­der, 30, re­mains on the outer with the cricket es­tab­lish­ment, and es­pe­cially New Zealand team se­lec­tor-coach Hes­son, after yet another dis­play of ill-dis­ci­pline in­volv­ing al­co­hol last Jan­uary.

Hes­son ba­si­cally cut Ry­der adrift, and at the time few blamed him.

Ry­der had had more last chances than Ju­dith Collins and had used up all the good­will go­ing.

Since then he’s had a re­ally good sea­son with English county Es­sex.

In first-class matches he scored 630 runs at an av­er­age of 37 an in­nings and took 44 wick­ets at 18.1.

In the one-day com­pe­ti­tion he scored 369 runs at a strike rate of 122 and he was even more de­struc­tive in the Twenty20 com­pe­ti­tion.

Es­sex were so pleased with Ry­der that they’ve signed him for a fur­ther two years.

County coach Paul Grayson said he was warned about Ry­der be­fore the sea­son.

‘‘It’s fair to say that he came with a bit of bag­gage, but he’s been just bril­liant. He’s en­joyed the rou­tine of county cricket,’’ Grayson said.

Given Ry­der’s undis­puted abil­ity and his emerg­ing sta­tus as an all- rounder ( his medium-pace bowl­ing im­proved markedly in Eng­land), you’d have thought all this might have in­ter­ested Hes­son, as he puts to­gether a team for the World Cup early next year.

At his best Ry­der is a de­struc­tive left­handed open­ing bats­man – in 48 one-day in­ter­na­tion­als he has scored 1362 runs at a strike-rate of 95.3.

He would also of­fer New Zealand an im­por­tant op­tion in bowl­ing cover.

I can un­der­stand Hes­son and the rest of the New Zealand Cricket hi­er­ar­chy be­ing huffy with Ry­der back in Jan­uary. What’s more, New Zealand has played fine cricket since and there are lots of good play­ers now jostling for spots. But few have Ry­der’s nat­u­ral gifts. It was dis­ap­point­ing to hear that Hes­son had not spo­ken to Ry­der at the end of last sea­son, de­spite a planned meet­ing. ‘‘It didn’t work out,’’ he said rather ca­su­ally.

Last week, asked about Ry­der in view of his coun­try cricket form, Hes­son said: ‘‘We need to see changes and we haven’t seen that yet.’’

I won­der how hard Hes­son is look­ing. Has he spo­ken to the Es­sex man­age­ment to see if Ry­der is still a trou­bled soul? Has he asked them how they han­dled him?

One of the skills of a good coach is in be­ing able to han­dle di­verse per­son­al­i­ties. That is the chal­lenge for Hes­son.

I’m not sug­gest­ing Ry­der should sim­ply waltz back into the New Zealand team. Far from it.

But it would be nice to think the coach was open-minded on the sub­ject and was at least will­ing to un­der­take due dili­gence, as they say in the business world.

If Ry­der is fir­ing for the New Zealand side for the World Cup, you can guar­an­tee spec­ta­tors will flock to see him and that he will win some matches for his team.

It would be­hove Hes­son not to be too rigid on this is­sue and to at least take the trou­ble of find­ing out if the tal­ented Ry­der should re­ally still be per­sona non grata.

Photo: GETTY IMAGES

New leaf: Should Jesse Ry­der be for­given past in­dis­cre­tions?

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