Jesse Ryder breaks alcohol ban
MARK GEENTY, MIKE WATSON AND DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Were NZ cricket right to stand down Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell following the booze incident?
Jesse Ryder's latest drinking indiscretion won't cost him his contract with New Zealand cricket.
The gifted, but troubled, New Zealand and Wellington batsman broke a self- imposed alcohol ban after a second-ball duck in the second one-day international at McLean Park on Wednesday night.
He and team-mate Doug Bracewell were reprimanded by team management for "unacceptable behaviour" after the pair "verbally reacted to taunts from a member of the public" outside a Napier bar.
A bar patron involved in an argument with Ryder said he was surprised the talented cricketer had decided to go drinking, instead of remaining at the team's hotel, after the ODI defeat to South Africa in Napier.
"I would have thought after being caned as they were by South Africa, Ryder would have been in his hotel room looking up at the ceiling wondering how on earth they got beaten and what he could do to avoid another loss like that," Brendon Arkwright said.
Mr Arkwright, a Rotorua bar owner, said Ryder, and Black Caps teammate Doug Bracewell ,were with a large group of about 10 friends in the Cri Café Bar and Grill after the game on Wednesday night.
Mr Arkwright was with work colleague Jason Mills, also from Rotorua, after watching the game in Napier.
"As we left the bar I went over to Jesse and asked him 'shouldn't he be back at the hotel and not in a bar celebrating a loss.
"Jesse got up from his chair and said something - which I am not quite sure what he said.
"His demeanour was aggressive and some of his friends were quite loud and abusive.
"It was over very quickly and we left the bar."
Mr Arkwright was adamant he and Mr Mills were not aggressive to Ryder or his group.
Mr Arkwright said he had been a fan of Ryder until the incident.
"We went to the game hoping to see a Ryder 50 (runs) so we were disappointed to see him a bar afterwards."
Ryder scored a duck in the game which NZ lost by six wickets.
In Ryder's defence Mr Arkwright said the player had probably copped flak all night over his performance.
Neither Ryder or Bracewell were misbehaving in the bar, he said.
Black Caps team manager Mike Sandle this morning said the duo had been stood down for one game and will miss tomorrow's rematch with the Proteas in Auckland.
He has been sent back to Wellington to rejoin the Firebirds, but will not play against Canterbury this morning.
Sandle stressed Ryder's verbal altercation with bar patrons in Napier after Wednesday night's one-day international loss to South Africa was not a code of conduct issue.
"It obviously hadn't been wise to react to the jibes but their biggest offence was being in the bar in the first place. Ryder and Bracewell were under injury clouds and team protocol prevented players from drinking while carrying injuries because of the tight turnaround between matches," Sandle said.
Sandle said he was not sure how much alcohol Ryder had consumed.
"I can't say exactly but it wasn't a big night."
"Both players have apologised for their actions and said they fully understand the consequences. They know they have let down fans and team-mates alike," Sandle said.
Black Caps coach John Wright hasn't closed the door on Ryder but admits the troubled star is testing his patience.
He made it clear there are standards to be maintained.
"He's a talented cricketer and it's up to him and certainly everyone has the opportunity to play if they perform and are fit and abide by some of the rules that go with being in the team," Wright said when asked about Ryder's future.
"The door is open for any player but there are standards you need to reach."
Wright admitted Ryder was testing his patience: "It's fair to say that."
Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum suggested, injuries aside, it hadn't been wise for Ryder and other players to be drinking after such a heavy loss anyway.
"From our point of view, we'd just suffered another tough loss, our fourth in a row, and it certainly wasn't the time to be out socialising and being seen in public drinking," McCullum told Radio Sport.
McCullum said there was disappointment all round with the situation but the side had to remain focussed on regrouping and trying to beat South Africa.
"You've got a very disappointed bunch of players, and hopefully New Zealand Cricket will take that on board as well."
Spin bowler Tarun Nethula was with Ryder and Bracewell. But he wasn’t injured and was allowed to be out drinking.
Ryder has already left the squad and returned to Wellington.
Clearly frustrated with Ryder's serial offending in the drinking department, Sandle said the team management, including senior players, felt this was the best way to deal with the latest incident.
"It's over to Jesse. He realises that if you are a New Zealand representative and there are some obligations that come with that. He has let himself down, he has let his team down. There are no winners out of this whatsoever. He realises he has let people down. He has to learn and move on. He's the only one who can make these decisions."
The Wellington Firebirds have said that Ryder will not play against Canterbury this morning.
It was also feared that his inclusion in the Firebirds' line-up would turn an important match into something of a sideshow.
"I think there would be been all sorts of [media] people coming along to talk to him,'' said Wellington's director of cricket Robbie Kerr.
SERIES OF INCIDENTS
New NZC chief executive David White's reaction will be watched with interest. Under former NZC boss Justin Vaughan, Ryder was on his last warning after a series of off-field incidents.
In 2008, his season ended prematurely when he badly cut his hand while trying to break into a hotel toilet in Christchurch. In 2010, Ryder was fined and warned by NZC for being involved in an alcohol-fuelled disruption at a Christchurch hotel during an indoor cricket competition.
The big-hitting left-hander was rushed back into the Black Caps last week, having scored three rapid half-centuries for Wellington in his comeback from a torn calf suffered on December 27.
He scored 52 off 42 balls in his comeback match, then six and nought in his two ODI innings. In Wellington he played a loose shot and skied a catch, then in Napier on Wednesday night he faced just two balls before being caught behind off the bowling of Dale Steyn.
After suffering the calf injury, the latest in a long line of fitness issues, Wright put the hard word on Ryder to get fit and prove he could get through the rigours of international cricket.
Ryder had been on a diet and lost several kilograms on his return, under the eye of New Zealand's strength and conditioning coach, Chris Donaldson.
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