Troublesome Jesse Ryder a long-shot to return
New Zealand Cricket have fined bad boys Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell for a boozy night out, but warned the biggest price they'll pay is with the selectors.
Ryder and Bracewell were fined an undisclosed amount after ''the squad members were out drinking until 3am the morning of the [first test against India in Auckland]'' an NZC statement released this morning said.
Cricket operations boss Lindsay Crocker said the players had accepted the charge of misconduct.
''By far the biggest consequence for the pair will be the damage caused to their relationship with the Black Caps selectors,'' the statement said.
"The New Zealand selectors place great emphasis on qualities such as personal responsibility, trustworthiness and dependability and will continue to do so with our encouragement,'' Crocker said.
"All players in contention for the Black Caps need to satisfy the selectors of their commitment to prepare conscientiously for international fixtures."
Both Ryder and Bracewell's names will be absent when the squad for the second test against India in Wellington starting Friday is named today.
Ryder's name is also almost certain to be missing from New Zealand's 15-man squad for the World Twenty20, which was to be announced tomorrow but has been pushed back to the Sunday deadline after the latest drama.
A month ago Ryder would have been one of the first names inked in the squad for next month's tournament in Bangladesh, but coach Mike Hesson, management and senior players have had enough.
"We need to make sure that all our players prepare themselves accordingly for test cricket, and at the moment we don't have confidence that that's the case," a stern-faced Hesson said yesterday, confirming Ryder's axing from the squad for Friday's second test in Wellington.
Hesson dodged specific questions on whether 29-year-old Ryder has a future in the New Zealand team, but privately he holds grave doubts. If Ryder's preparation for a test, in which he was on standby for expectant father Ross Taylor, was deemed "totally unacceptable" then the coach can hardly pick him for a big world tournament a few days later.
'NOT A GOOD LOOK'
Footage of a clearly intoxicated Ryder being cajoled into a taxi outside an Auckland bar by team-mate Jimmy Neesham at 3am the morning after the tied ODI on January 25 was widely viewed in recent days, including by Hesson.
"Um, yeah it wasn't a good look," he said.
Hesson said Ryder hadn't previously breached team protocols since returning to the Black Caps on Boxing Day after an absence of 22 months, in which time he swore off alcohol for several months then made a flying return to domestic cricket.
Ryder isn't among NZC's 20 contracted players, but is high on Otago's contract list. Otago Cricket has vowed to put support people around Ryder in the wake of his long-time manager Aaron Klee severing ties on Friday. Domestic contracts only span six months, so Ryder will be unemployed on April 1. If Ryder was to seek professional help, it would be via the Cricket Players' Association.
Ryder's rollercoaster few days were summed up by his batting for Otago against Central Districts in Nelson; 100 not out in the first innings and a golden duck in the second.
Hesson said there were no curfews or alcohol bans when the New Zealand team was in camp.
"We have faith in our players that they make good decisions around preparation. We're dealing with grown men. If a player was to have a beer with their meal before a game we don't have an issue with that at all. But there's a big difference between that and what occurred the night before the test match."
Bracewell is back home in Napier nursing a broken bone in his foot which occurred during their night out.
He is one of NZC's 20 contracted players but is fast generating a rap sheet to rival Ryder's when it comes to trouble with alcohol. He faces a long road back to the Black Caps, too. His contract runs till July 31 and then he'll almost certainly drop down to a domestic contract with Central Districts.