A persistent distraction the Black Caps don't need

WAYNE MARTIN
Last updated 13:00 13/02/2014

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OPINION: Jesse Ryder must surely have exhausted any lingering shred of sympathy most reasonable observers might have felt towards New Zealand sport's serial recidivist.

Ryder's latest run-in with New Zealand Cricket's officialdom appears to have finally provided irrefutable evidence that he's beyond help - or, at least, that he simply doesn't have the capacity to appreciate the enviable opportunities in front of him.

He's the worst kind of nuisance. Black Caps coach Mike Hesson must surely have known what was coming when he sat down for Monday morning's press conference in the wake of his team's remarkable 40-run test victory over India at Eden Park. Still, you could understand his frustration and anger when, rather than accentuating the positives from Sunday's dramatic result, the gathered media instead predictably focused on Ryder's latest alcohol-induced nonsense.

The timing couldn't have been worse for Hesson, although for the time being at least, Ryder has become someone else's problem, after he was predictably dumped from the second test squad.

He wasn't alone, of course, with test bowler Doug Bracewell also living up to his reputation as the most loyal of wingmen where late-night drinking sessions are concerned.

Bracewell doesn't appear to have copped the same degree of scrutiny as Ryder, although it could just be a matter of degree, with Ryder possibly recognised as the more significant waste of talent.

The issues surrounding Ryder have progressed way beyond team protocols.

Arguably the most tragic aspect of his ill-discipline and self-destructive tendencies is that he simply doesn't appear to recognise that he's the only person genuinely capable of altering the disastrous path along which his professional cricketing career has headed.

People transgress socially all the time, sportsmen included - and, fairly or not, it's our celebrities who cop a disproportionate amount of attention.

Social media doesn't miss a beat, or any opportunity to ridicule, making it even more important that our leading sports stars are aware of the consequences of any ill-considered actions.

In that light, reality sometimes sucks.

New All Blacks loose forward Steven Luatua probably never imagined that relatively harmless images of his involvement in an online drinking game earlier this year would be broadcast across the nation.

They were, and he undoubtedly learned an important lesson.

Ryder appears much less receptive to comprehending the consequences of his actions, and that there's a potential damaging headline waiting around every corner.

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He might not have deserved the disgraceful beating he took in Christchurch last year, but he's a distraction that the Black Caps can certainly do without, and it would be no surprise if he's played his last international in any form of the game. It really is a waste.

- Nelson

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