Jesse Ryder will fly solo at this year's Indian Premier League but will be among familiar faces at his latest franchise, the Delhi Daredevils.
Ryder was snared for US$260,000 (NZ$307,000) by Delhi at Sunday's player auction, on a one-year contract, after a bidding duel with his former franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore.
His manager, Aaron Klee, confirmed Ryder wouldn't be accompanied as he was at Pune a year ago, when psychologist Karen Nimmo and Klee took turns as Ryder's support crew as he dealt with personal issues that saw him take an indefinite break from international cricket.
"No, he won't need any of that," Klee said.
There was a low-key reaction from Ryder's camp after the auction. Klee preferred not to comment on the outcome while Ryder tweeted: "Thanks for all the messages very happy to be going to @DelhiDaredevils looking forward to it".
Ryder will rejoin his former Bangalore team-mates, Ross Taylor and England batsman Kevin Pietersen, at Delhi. Former New Zealand assistant coach Trent Woodhill is also on the Delhi coaching staff under head coach Eric Simons.
Ryder's salary is US$110,000 more than he earned at Pune but he has to play to earn the full amount, which is paid pro rata. There's a logjam of quality top-order batsmen at Delhi, including Virender Sehwag, David Warner, Mahela Jayawardene, Taylor and Pietersen, and just four overseas spots available in each playing 11.
There could still be movement in the trading window before the competition starts in April, and Ryder also adds value as an all-rounder.
He appeared unlucky to be low down in the auction order and was third-last in the all-rounders group to go under the hammer. Other all-rounders went for big money early on, among them Australian Glenn Maxwell (US$1 million to Mumbai), Indian Abhishek Nayar (US$675,000 to Pune) and South African Chris Morris (US$625,000 to Chennai).
Speaking before the auction, Klee said the IPL got Ryder back on his feet last year and he gained a lot of self-belief from getting through it. Ryder swore off alcohol last year and was comfortable in the Wellington environment where team-mates were drinking after games.
"He can go to a barbecue and people are having a drink, that's how it is in society. It's got nothing to do with anyone else, all he's got to focus on is what he wants to do," Klee said.
"He's been making good decisions recently and we just support him to keep taking responsibility and keep making good decisions."
Ryder will be one of seven Kiwis in the IPL, after Jacob Oram was picked up by the John Wright-coached Mumbai for US$50,000. Others are Ryder, Taylor, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori, James Franklin and Nathan McCullum.
AT A GLANCE
Chennai Super Kings
Major purchase: Chris Morris (South Africa) US$625,000.
Other notables (already contracted): MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Michael Hussey, Ben Hilfenhaus, Faf du Plessis, Albie Morkel, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dwayne Bravo.
Major purchase: Johan Botha (South Africa) US$450,000.
Also: Jesse Ryder (NZ) US$260,000.
Other notables: Virender Sehwag, Irfan Pathan, Mahela Jayawardene, Ross Taylor, David Warner, Kevin Pietersen, Morne Morkel.
Kings XI Punjab
Major purchase: Manpreet Gony (India) US$500,000.
Other notables: Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Adam Gilchrist, Shaun Marsh, David Hussey, Ryan Harris, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Azhar Mahmood.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Major purchase: Sachithra Senanayake (Sri Lanka) US$625,000.
Other notables: Gautam Gambhir, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Eoin Morgan, Brad Haddin, Brendon McCullum, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, James Pattinson, Sunil Narine.
Major purchase: Glenn Maxwell (Australia) US$1 million.
Also: Ricky Ponting (Australia) US$400,000, Jacob Oram (NZ) US$50,000.
Other notables: Harbhajan Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Munaf Patel, Pragyan Ojha, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, James Franklin, Mitchell Johnson, Dwayne Smith.
Major purchase: Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka) US$725,000.
Also: Michael Clarke (Australia) US$400,000.
Other notables: Robin Uthappa, Ashish Nehra, Murali Kartik, Yuvraj Singh, Angelo Mathews, Marlon Samuels, Luke Wright, Steven Smith, Tamim Iqbal.
Major purchase: James Faulkner (Australia) US$400,000.
Other notables: Rahul Dravid, S Sreesanth, Shane Watson, Shaun Tait, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Owais Shah.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Major purchase: Jaydev Unadkat (India) US$525,000.
Other notables: Vinay Kumar, Virat Kohli, Zaheer Khan, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Muttiah Muralitharan, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Daniel Vettori.
Major purchase: Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka) US$675,000.
Also: Nathan McCullum (NZ) US$100,000.
Other notables: Ishant Sharma, Dale Steyn, Kumar Sangakkara.
- The Dominion Post