Cricket: Jesse rides out a storm

By David Leggat

Cricketer Jesse Ryder returned positives for two substances banned in competition. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Cricketer Jesse Ryder returned positives for two substances banned in competition. Photo / Steven McNicholl

But for a fluke of timing, Jesse Ryder would have avoided a six-month ban from cricket. Ryder is sidelined after testing positive for a dietary supplement in March.

He took the last two of, he estimates, eight pills to help lose weight five days before his test in Wellington. Had Ryder been tested that day he would have passed it on the grounds that the prohibited elements are not banned in out-of-competition testing.

Equally, had he been tested two days later, the strong likelihood is the tiny amount of residue found in the test would have disappeared.

Ryder, 29, returned positives for two substances banned in competition, 1-Phenylbutan-2-amine (PBA) and another known as DEBEA.

"I was puzzled. I had no idea how I could have failed it," Ryder said yesterday.

When notified of the failed test, he took the samples to the ESR in Porirua, where "they showed me the two things I'd been done for".

Before he took them, Ryder's trainer had checked the pills on a Wada site and came up with no red flags. Ryder stands by his man: "It's definitely not his fault. I put my trust in him, and still do."

Ryder said his mistake was not checking with Drug Free Sport New Zealand, while maintaining "they'd have said there was nothing wrong with it, but it's a risk".

DFSNZ chief executive Graeme Steel said there was nothing on the pill bottle label which replicated anything on the world anti-doping agency prohibited list. But there was a substance which has components which would have warranted a double check.

"We would have said to him fat burners by definition must have a stimulant," Steel said. "Had he brought it to our attention we'd have said it'd be stupid to go anywhere near it."

Steel said Ryder's offence was on a low level and no performance-enhancement had been sought. "He's broken the rules, should have done better, but he's not Ben Johnson or [Nadzeya] Ostapchuk," he said.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said the ban would have no adverse impact on Ryder's ambitions to return to the national team.

Ryder will be back for Otago for the start of the Plunket Shield competition in October.

He has been recovering after he was assaulted outside a Christchurch bar in March, suffering serious head injuries.

What happened

* Jesse Ryder has been banned from the game for six months, until October 19, after testing positive for a banned substance.
* Ryder took a dietary supplement to aid weight loss, was informed of the positive result on April 12 and appeared before a sports tribunal this month.
* Ryder has switched from Wellington to Otago for this season as he attempts to get his international career back on track.
* The last of Ryder's 77 games for New Zealand was against South Africa in Napier, in February 2012. He made a duck.

- NZ Herald

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