Cricket: Ryder's decision to opt out right one for player

By David Leggat

Jesse Ryder. Photo / NZ Herald.
Jesse Ryder. Photo / NZ Herald.

Jesse Ryder's decision not to seek a New Zealand Cricket contract is to be applauded.

He has a raft of personal issues to sort out and the quality of a person's life far outweighs the playing of a game, although it should be added that one can certainly improve the other.

Ryder is taking steps to address them in his own way. By all accounts, his time at the Indian Premier League went well, even if, along with the rest of the New Zealand contingent, his on-field form was patchy.

He has turned down one English county contract, and it's far from a done deal that he'll take up a major association deal with Wellington in a couple of months either.

Ryder is doing things on his terms, and while there have been some false dawns, with luck a rejuvenated, switched on Ryder will return in a few months and be the top-class cricketer his talent suggests he can be, and, given the shallow player pool it possesses, New Zealand certainly needs.

Some time ago, Ryder was counted out of New Zealand's tour to the West Indies, which starts later this month.

However, those who are going might be advised to take a peek at the third test between the West Indies and England, starting at Edgbaston next Thursday night (NZT).

England, the world No1 test team, have won the first two tests but there have been encouraging signs that all is not lost for the once-mighty West Indians as they look for a way out of a decade-long trough.

Talking of doing things on his terms, consider Marlon Samuels, the 31-year-old Jamaican, who is at last revealing his batting gifts.

Samuels has hit 310 runs in four innings in the series at 103 per innings. He has gone about his work with a calm deliberation and been highly impressive.

This is the same Samuels who made his test debut 12 years ago before he'd played for Jamaica; who narrowly avoided being sent home from a tour of India for breaking a curfew; carelessly ran out Brian Lara in the great lefthander's final innings for the West Indies at the 2007 World Cup; and copped a two-year ban a year later for "receiving money or benefit or other reward that could bring him or the game into disrepute. (Far from being troubled by that, Samuels said: "I'm not going to lie; it was great to spend two years on the beach".)

So he's had his moments. Now it seems Samuels has figured out that the clock is ticking on his international career.

He is a cool customer, almost Chris Gayleish in his why-run-when-you-can-stroll demeanour.

Indeed after being not out when the West Indies beat India in an ODI in Jamaica last year, Samuels made a detour to the stands to high five Gayle, who was a spectator, before wandering in the direction of the dressing room.

Throw in the barnacle Shiv Chanderpaul, back ranked world No1 batsman; lively bowlers in Kemar Roach and Fidel Edwards, intriguing spinners in Shane Shillingford and uncapped Sunil Narine - a hit in the Indian Premier League alongside Brendon McCullum at Kolkata Knight Riders - and New Zealand, ranked ahead of only Bangladesh and one place behind the West Indies, has their work cut out.

•Commiserations to Nick Compton, who had been chasing 59 runs to become the ninth player to reach 1000 first-class runs in an English season by the end of May.

What happened? Here's a clue. Wimbledon is around the corner.

That's right, rain intervened in Somerset's game at Worcestershire, and Compton managed just nine not out, leaving him 50 short.

- NZ Herald

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