Black Caps coach Mike Hesson has not shut the door on Jesse Ryder's return to international cricket but issued a firm directive about his expectations and protocols at a meeting in Dunedin last week.
Otago chief executive Ross Dykes, Hesson and the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association met with Ryder to discuss his rehabilitation road after his latest late night drinking incident saw him dropped from the test team and left out of the Twenty20 World Cup squad.
The Sunday Star-Times understands Hesson told Ryder he must consistently demonstrate the ability to prepare appropriately for matches before he would be considered for selection.
"Mike Hesson certainly made it clear what he expects," Dykes said. "He said to Jesse the door will not be shut, but he has to prove himself.
"We're all conscious of the fact he's had a few indiscretions. He's got to demonstrate he's got those under control.
"It became obvious Jesse needs to make some adjustments in his life and approach. There's a unanimous desire to assist and give him whatever help is required to get things back on track to force his way back into international cricket." That may include professional counselling services after Ryder parted ways with long-term manager Aaron Klee.
"He will get whatever support he needs, and that will come through New Zealand Cricket and the Players' Association. We are cricket people. It's up to someone more professional to devise a strategy," Dykes said.
No directive has yet been issued around Ryder's battles with alcohol, but if he is to work his way back into the frame for the tour of the Caribbean in May, a self-imposed policy may be recommended.
"That's a decision he has to make," Dykes said of the explosive left-handed batsman giving up alcohol. "It's going to be part and parcel of how he makes his way back, how he handles that.
"He wants to succeed in cricket. He knows that's his real skill in life. We need to take small steps and be patient."
Ryder will play in Otago's final four-day Plunket Shield match against Northern Districts in Dunedin today, before turning his attention to the domestic one-day competition.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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