Cricket: Selection for NZ XI a step up for Ryder

By David Leggat

Jesse Ryder. Photo / Paul Taylor
Jesse Ryder. Photo / Paul Taylor

It's couched as just another step up for Jesse Ryder.

But those following Ryder's progress on his return towards international cricket will have firm views either way on his naming in the New Zealand XI to play a partial West Indies team this month.

There's a school of thought that argues the gifted lefthander should be eased through the season - after a traumatic period including being badly assaulted in a Christchurch bar last March and copping a six-month ban over a banned substance - to get back among the runs consistently before pulling on the black cap again.

The other perspective comes from the "get him in" crowd. That view is if he's among the top six batsmen - and talent-wise he is - he plays. End of story.

Ryder hit a century for Otago in their opening Plunket Shield game against Wellington and has another shield game against Canterbury at Rangiora starting on Tuesday.

The team named yesterday is a blend of batsmen either in, or on the periphery of, the New Zealand side, and inexperienced bowlers.

So test openers Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford get a look at the West Indies new ball bowlers; Ryder, Dean Brownlie and captain Brendon McCullum also have an opportunity.

"The match will give our batsmen some critical match time as well as giving them a sighter of some of the West Indian bowlers," general manager national selection Bruce Edgar said.

As for Ryder, the former test opener said: "It will be great to see Jesse back in a New Zealand team environment, but it's simply another opportunity for him to show that he can perform consistently."

The bowlers include young Northern Districts fast-medium men Anurag Verma and James Baker, Central Districts' lively Andrew Mathieson and Otago off spinner Mark Craig.

Canterbury and Otago provide the bulk of the team as they don't have any domestic activities that clash.

Two of the in-form domestic openers, Aaron Redmond - 154 for Otago against Wellington - and Auckland's Jeet Raval, who has 105 and 107 in his last three innings, will open for the West Indies. Redmond's time may have come and gone, but not Raval's.

The game won't affect New Zealand's first test squad. It will be named two days before the Lincoln game starts.

• Canterbury completed a six-wicket win over Auckland at Eden Park yesterday.

Chasing 249, Auckland had a glimmer of hope at 107 for three, before stands of 90 between Shanan Stewart and Henry Nicholls, and an unbroken 54 between Stewart and Brad Cachopa completed the job for Canterbury.

Auckland's third Plunket Shield game is at home to CD starting on December 4. They drew their opening match against Northern Districts.

- NZ Herald

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