Out-of-favour Ryder pays for indiscretions

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 06:43 17/02/2014

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New Zealand Cricket cannot say when Jesse Ryder will be considered for international selection again after he was omitted from the World Twenty20 squad yesterday.

After his recent off-field issues involving alcohol, Ryder was the notable absentee from the 15-man New Zealand squad for Bangladesh, which featured the return of spinners Roneel Hira and Anton Devcich and test pace spearhead Trent Boult. In Ryder's absence, Kane Williamson is the leading contender to partner Martin Guptill at the top of the order.

Ryder scored 44 for Otago against Auckland in Dunedin yesterday, a week after notching his 17th first-class century.

It seems that the 29-year-old can blaze all the domestic runs he likes, but his international career is on hold indefinitely after he visited a bar till the early hours of the morning of the first test against India in Auckland.

"[Coach] Mike [Hesson] and I certainly weren't happy with his preparation and therefore we've had to exclude him from the tour," general manager national selection Bruce Edgar said.

"Character is very important for us as part of the selection process, and if it doesn't stack up we'll consider not selecting the player."

Edgar wouldn't speculate on when Ryder would be considered again, with the West Indies tour in May New Zealand's next assignment. Ryder, who is contracted to Otago, is working with NZC, the Cricket Players' Association and Otago Cricket to get him "heading in the right direction".

"I can't answer that one. It's really up to Jesse to work through the process. We're selectors and we want to know that players are ready and available for selection."

Williamson is an able replacement at the top of the order and his bowling will be useful in spin-friendly conditions. Edgar said Williamson had taken his game to another level, was an excellent player of spin and had a healthy strike rate.

Devcich, who opened for New Zealand in the final T20 in Sri Lanka in November, was another contender to partner Guptill.

His hard-hitting batting, left-arm spin and sharp fielding made him an appealing prospect, and he was a strong contributor to the winning Northern Districts T20 side.

With the unavailability of Daniel Vettori (back), Hira, another left-armer who has 15 T20 internationals to his name, returns for the first time since the June internationals in England.

The 27-year-old was suspended for two matches by Christchurch Metro Cricket in December for abusing spectators who'd taunted him during the club final. The ban was later lifted and Hira didn't miss any domestic T20 matches for Canterbury.

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Asked if he was satisfied Hira's discipline was up to scratch for the Black Caps' environment, Edgar said: "Absolutely."

"He's a good T20 exponent, a very good fieldsman and he has a way of doing things at T20 level and adds to the spin bowling options we've got. There will be a focus on spin and we need to counter that."

Young fast bowlers Adam Milne (abdominal strain) and Matt Henry (groin strain) were not considered, while Boult got the final pace bowling spot.

The left-armer didn't play any limited overs cricket for New Zealand during the home series, but Edgar said they'd intended to select him before a quad strain saw him put on ice for the tests.

It's a strong squad. New Zealand will be aiming for the semifinals at least, given their recent limited overs form at home.

New Zealand depart on March 8 for a pre-tournament camp in Abu Dhabi, then play warmup matches against Pakistan and Australia before their tournament opener against England in Chittagong on March 22. South Africa, Sri Lanka and a qualifier are also in their pool.

AT A GLANCE

New Zealand squad for the World T20: Brendon McCullum (captain), Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Colin Munro, Anton Devcich, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, Jimmy Neesham, Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Kyle Mills, Roneel Hira, Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan.

In: Devcich, Hira, Boult.

Out: Jesse Ryder (disciplinary), Adam Milne (abdominal strain), Matt Henry (groin strain).

- The Dominion Post

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