Jonathan Millmow: Too many chances for Ryder

Last updated 05:00 11/02/2014
Jesse Ryder
POOR SHOW: Jesse Ryder had returned to New Zealand's ODI squad before the latest incident took place.
Doug Bracewell
NO IDEA: Doug Bracewell at home in Napier yesterday.

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If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

OPINION: So, to start off on a positive note we should tip our hat today to Aaron Klee.

His name will not be familiar to everyone, but Klee has been Jesse Ryder's manager for half a dozen years.

Klee stuck by Ryder through thick and thin. When Ryder went to the Indian Premier League, Klee went with him. When Ryder was in a coma last year, Klee was at his bedside.

When a school wanted a signed Ryder playing shirt for fundraising purposes, Klee would oblige. When the critics nailed Ryder for his off-field failings, Klee always stood up for him.

Sometimes he tried to defend the indefensible, but tellingly on Friday Klee threw his hands in the air and walked away. You can only be let down by someone so many times.

When you mix in cricket circles word soon gets around if someone is playing up.

Since his New Zealand recall on Boxing Day, Ryder has gradually got back on the grog within the team environment.

A trained eye could see Ryder's focus tailing off.

The face was bloating up, the flow was missing in his batting and in two games he failed to go the distance in the field.

One thing baffles me with the management of Ryder's drinking issue.

Be it with Wellington last season and New Zealand this time, Ryder is given a green light to drink alcohol. Surely a condition of contracting or selecting him should be that he stays off the grog.

Ryder has had too many "last chances" and should not be selected in the Black Caps for next month's Twenty20 World Cup.

Mike Hesson's men are playing well enough without him. We are not a desperate team requiring desperate measures.

Once again Ryder has tested the patience of his team-mates and everyone needs some space.

He and Doug Bracewell's drinking session the night before the first test in Auckland took the gloss off an exciting win against India. That does not go down well with players, coaches and selectors who pore over computer footage late at night while Ryder and Bracewell shout their hangers-on another round of bourbon and cokes.

No one wants to see Ryder self-destruct but at some stage he has to accept some responsibility. The timing of his latest slip-up is poor, with the IPL auction on tomorrow night (5pm NZ time) but perhaps it is a blessing in disguise.

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Ryder in the party heavy IPL environment - without his minder Klee - is a recipe for disaster.

Ryder might get snapped up cheaply by a franchise that wants a matchwinner on its books but I'd be staggered if any of the New Zealand coaches in the IPL (Stephen Fleming at Chennai, John Wright at Mumbai and Daniel Vettori at Bangalore) show interest in him.

As for Bracewell, he is young man with much to offer but seemingly no idea how to do it. When he bowled New Zealand to victory against Australia in Hobart the cricketing world was his oyster.

Plenty of promising cricketers have fallen by the wayside trying to be the next Ian Botham and by that we mean playing hard on and off the field and Bracewell appears to be trying that gig.

This is a story of one man who needs help with his addiction and another who needs to take a look in the mirror.

- Fairfax Media


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