It's time NZ Cricket dumped uneasy Ryder

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 03/03/2012

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OPINION: Jesse Ryder is a slow learner. He has poor impulse control, isn't fulfilling his cricketing potential and causes continual embarrassment to his employers.

And? Well, there's not much more to add.

This week Ryder had a fiddle at a ball from Dale Steyn and was caught behind for nought, in a one-day international against South Africa. He was later told by New Zealand coach John Wright that he wouldn't be named in their test team and promptly went to the pub.

While drinking, a fellow patron or two told him he should have been in his hotel room feeling bad about himself and he disagreed.

So far, so familiar.

Where Ryder is ruled to have been a bad boy is that he was downing his drink of choice with a small wound between two of his fingers. Black Caps protocol is that injured players don't consume alcohol and Ryder didn't follow that.

He – along with drinking companion Doug Bracewell – was then omitted from the New Zealand squad which plays South Africa in another one-day international today. Bored with this story yet? You should be.

Ryder and his misdemeanours have become deadly dull and the time has come for the national selectors to stop picking him. The end.

New Zealand Cricket, and Black Caps management, can quickly make the Ryder problem go away. All they have to do is not renew his contract, when it expires on July 31, and leave him to play his cricket for Naenae Old Boys and Wellington.

There's no question of his contract being terminated, because he was guilty of no misconduct by drinking in a Napier bar on Wednesday night. Ryder broke protocol and team management took the appropriate action.

Despite previous bouts of drunken and boorish behaviour, the Black Caps had Ryder under no alcohol ban. He'd simply indicated to team manager Mike Sandle, when he returned to the side, that he wasn't drinking at the moment and had no plans start anytime soon.

WRIGHT expressed disappointment in Ryder yesterday and NZC have previously talked tough about, what you might euphemistically describe as, last-chance saloons.

Ryder is 27. He is not a boy, although he has drunk since he was one.

NZC know that and they know what they're potentially getting every time they include him in one of their teams. For that reason it's hard to feel any sympathy for them when Ryder lives up to his reputation.

For all their lines in the sand, NZC have always been the ones to cross them first. Ryder only has to say and do the right things for a few weeks and back he comes into the Black Caps team.

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NZC had, optimistically, hoped Ryder might play for Wellington, in their Plunket Shield game against Canterbury which started at the Basin Reserve yesterday. Ryder didn't fancy it and Wellington respected that.

He will be in the Firebirds team that meets Northern Districts next Friday, though. Day one will no doubt be a circus too, with television news crews being dispatched to a domestic four-day match for one of the few times in recent memory.

But, as Ryder's manager Aaron Klee noted yesterday, "it wouldn't be the first time" one of his appearances for Wellington turned the actual game into a sideshow.

Those close to Ryder say he holds playing for New Zealand very dearly. NZC would actually do everyone a service by denying him that opportunity.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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