Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Daniel Richardson: Ryder's right to hold back on his international return

Jesse Ryder. Photo / Greg Bowker
Jesse Ryder. Photo / Greg Bowker

It's not the news New Zealand cricket fans wanted but Jesse Ryder is right to put off his return to the national team.

Although the mood within the New Zealand camp is likely to have improved with the shock one-day series victory over South Africa, little else has changed to make Ryder want to rush back.

His manager confirmed at the weekend that the Wellington left-hander won't be making himself available for the upcoming series against England and no specific date has been set for his return.

Ryder's off-field issues have been well publicised and he appears to have finally taken the right steps to get himself right.

He has a decent support network who have taken a measured approach to ensure when he finally does make his return to international cricket it will be at the right time.

Playing at the international level can be extremely stressful and, with Ross Taylor still to return to the national side and sort out his differences with coach Mike Hesson, there's potential for the Black Caps to have a volatile team environment.

Ryder doesn't need to be caught in the middle of that.

Wellington coach Jamie Siddons said in a recent interview that he doesn't do a lot of coaching with Ryder.

He leaves him to his own devices and that plan has proven to be a masterstroke.

Let's run through the numbers.

This summer Ryder has blasted 580 runs at 58 in six Plunket Shield matches, including three centuries, while he hammered a competition-leading 584 runs in the HRV Cup at a rapid rate.

He is even back at the bowling crease after fears he may have to give up rolling the arm over as niggling injuries continued to plague him.

His talent is there for everyone to see and his popularity is evident.

At an HRV Cup game before Christmas as the players headed in to the tunnel at Westpac Stadium a large group of kids congregated on the edge of the stands and chanted for Ryder to come out and sign autographs for them.

The 28-year-old obliged and while he would get a start for nearly any international side in the world when he's ready, fans need to take their time with Ryder.

A batsman's prime is between the ages of 27 and 33 - look at Michael Clarke - and Ryder is just getting in to his best years, but he needs to attack them in the right state of mind.

It's unfair to compare him directly to Zac Guildford as some have, but Ryder's good run of behaviour and impressive on-field exploits have shown the benefits of having good people around you and what a measured break can do for a man.

When Ryder returns it will give New Zealand an impressive middle order if you add in a maturing Kane Williamson alongside Taylor.

New Zealand cricket fans have been put through the wringer during the past few months.

The last thing they need is to have their hopes built up by an early Ryder return that could go pear-shaped.

Give him time, and as Siddons has done, leave him to his own devices for now.


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Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service and the New Zealand Herald. He began his journalism career at the Wanganui Chronicle in late 2008 before he was poached by a rival newspaper. He moved back to Wellington before the start of the Rugby World Cup in 2011 where he covered such blockbuster games as Australia v Russia in Nelson. During his time in sports journalism he has written about everything from cage fighting to croquet with a bunch of other sports squeezed in the middle. He once delivered the now-defunct Evening Post, which didn’t inspire him to move in to journalism but did see him earn $17.50 per week for his troubles; a small fortune at the time for an 11-year-old.

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