Jesse Ryder will sign with English county Essex with the blessing of New Zealand Cricket, as Otago confirmed their interest in contracting the troubled batsman again next season.
Essex are poised to confirm Ryder for their Twenty20 campaign, which starts on May 16, after NZC signed the required no objection certificate which allows Ryder a visa to ply his trade in the UK. His domestic contract with Otago expired at the start of this month.
Otago Cricket stood by Ryder during his recent off-field dramas with alcohol, which came to a head when he and Doug Bracewell went out drinking on the eve of the Auckland test against India in February.
Neither have been considered for Black Caps selection since, "as they are yet to satisfy the selectors that they have their off-field issues under control," said NZC when naming the Black Caps and New Zealand A squads for winter tours last week.
Ryder's form hasn't suffered. He ended the season with a flourish, topping the one-day competition charts with 436 runs at an average of 73 and strike rate of 125.
Otago Cricket chief executive Ross Dykes said Ryder indicated he was keen to return to the Volts in October.
"At this stage we're keen to have him back. He was a wonderful acquisition for us on the field and, equally, off the field. In our environment he's been pretty good."
Still, Dykes admitted some rules around alcohol may need to be agreed on.
"I'm sure he's aware of everybody's concerns. That's something when it comes to contract time that we'd look at closely with Jesse and discuss with him."
Ryder and his long-time manager, Aaron Klee, parted ways in February. Ryder's new manager, Abby Cormack, contacted NZC this week for the no objection certificate which is required for all the governing body's contracted players who ply their trade overseas.
NZC general manager Lindsay Crocker said that would only be refused in extraordinary circumstances.
He wouldn't speculate on when Ryder would be considered again for international cricket.
"We'll be interested to know how his contract goes overseas. We'll see how he scrubs up at the start of next season before the selectors can determine whether they're happy with his progress," Crocker said.
Ryder's most recent international was the Wellington ODI against India on January 31.
Bracewell, meanwhile, has been included in NZC's wider training group this winter as he recovers from a broken bone in his foot, suffered during the pair's night out in Auckland.