Cricket: 'I'm not fussed about Parore - he was no saint himself'

By Chris Rattue

Pound for pound, it was still the most bizarre international debut in memory.

Jesse Ryder's frame became the talking point as the 23-year-old Wellington all-rounder prepared for his opening assignment as a Black Cap in the Twenty20 duels against England.

Former New Zealand wicketkeeper Adam Parore got the ball rolling when - and with wrecking ball diplomacy in these very pages - he labelled Ryder as fat and said his physique had no place in international cricket.

The New Zealand team minders were a touch reluctant about making Ryder available for interview in his New Zealand debut week. Ryder has had more than his share of controversies, failing to turn up for an assignment with Ireland then threatening to activate his British bloodlines if New Zealand didn't select him.

But it was a subdued Ryder who answered a few Herald questions although he managed a wee swish at Parore.

Where did cricket start for you. Was it a large - numerically - family affair on the back lawn?
No, I'm an only child. My first memory is dad chipping ping pong balls at me with a golf club with me trying to catch them.

I was about 3 or 4. Then it was a bit of school cricket, rep stuff and finally I got into first class cricket.

Did you mainly bat or bowl back then?
I started out as an opening bowler in my younger days. But at Napier Boys High I ended up as an opening batter and concentrated on that. Now I see myself as a batting all-rounder.

It would have all been boring old one-day cricket in your youth. None of this whizz bang Twenty20 carry-on.
There was Cricket Max but that was before I started playing. Twenty20 is exciting, I quite enjoy it, and it definitely gets the crowd in.

What about your debut at Eden Park?
The atmosphere was amazing - the boys really enjoyed the buzz in front of 29,500 people. The biggest crowd I'd ever played in front of previously was 2500 at the Basin Reserve. The heart was really pumping, especially when I was batting. Too much adrenalin maybe - I was backing up too much, wanting to get on strike.

Which is how you got out - but it was an okay debut including in the bowling department ...
Yeah - I wasn't expecting that but you have to be on the alert all the time in this cricket. The captain can throw you the ball at any time. One over, two runs and a wicket - I was absolutely stoked with that.

The New Zealand team's sports psychologist Gary Hermansson visited you on the boundary immediately after that over. Did he want to talk over something deep and meaningful about your childhood? How did he couch his words?
He just said "well bowled".

Very soothing, I'm sure. Wonder what he said to your successor Jeetan Patel after Dimitri Mascarenhas put him into the stands. Did you feel like getting deep and meaningful with Adam Parore? He wasn't exactly encouraging.
I didn't read any of it or listen to the comments. That's just him, isn't it. I'm not fussed with what he had to say - he wasn't an angel himself was he? It was easy to ignore. I'm a chilled-out sort of guy and not much fazes me. I've heard it all before mate. I'm still working hard on the fitness. It is an issue. Getting fitter can't hurt my game.

Wellington coach Anthony Stuart predicted England would give you a rude reception. Were there any Snickers so to speak when you got out there?
Nah. There was one little comment from [Stuart] Broad when I tried to pull him and top edged it for four. He gave me a bit of grief, he said "shit shot" or something like that. I said "cheers mate".

Their bowlers can swing it a bit ... swing is in after India troubled the Aussies.
That England attack wasn't too bad. [Ryan] Sidebottom is much quicker than I thought he was going to be. The ball hit the bat real hard. They do swing it a bit but we face a few swing bowlers around New Zealand.

All the best Jesse. Folk hero status awaits if you can get the runs flowing off the bat. The crowd loves an everyman character. But you don't appear to be as controversial as the reputation suggests ... I've altered what I do, especially off the field. I just want to give cricket a good go this year. I had a big think about it. Doing that other stuff is not going to help me in any way.

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