Cricket: Ryder's ready to return to Black Caps

By Adrian Seconi of the Otago Daily Times

Left-hander tipped to be named in ODI and T20 squads to face West Indies
Ryder's immediate concern is scoring runs for Otago in their first-class fixture against Central Districts, which starts at the University Oval tomorrow. Photo / Getty Images
Ryder's immediate concern is scoring runs for Otago in their first-class fixture against Central Districts, which starts at the University Oval tomorrow. Photo / Getty Images

Jesse Ryder is set to resume his international cricket career.

The punishing 29-year-old left-hander has not played for the Black Caps since February last year when he decided to take a break from the game at the top level.

However, he is ready to return from his self-imposed exile and has been in excellent form for Otago this season.

In four first-class matches this summer he has scored 454 runs at an average of 64.85, including two centuries and two 50s.

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His return to the international fold has been widely tipped and it is likely to be confirmed when the Black Caps name their one-day and T20 squad during the tea break of the third test in Hamilton today.

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There have been seven different openers tried in the one-day team this calendar year - Luke Ronchi, Rob Nicol, BJ Watling, Martin Guptill, Hamish Rutherford, Tom Latham and Anton Devcich - so the team is far from settled.

"If I get the chance, I'm ready to make the step up," Ryder said yesterday.

"It has been the goal since the start of the season to get back in the side, so if I'm lucky enough to get selected then I've got to earn that place. Everyone is playing well in that team, so it is not going to be easy."

Ryder's immediate concern is scoring runs for Otago in their first-class fixture against Central Districts, which starts at the University Oval tomorrow. Ryder will know by then whether he has been included in the New Zealand squad for the opening one-dayer against the West Indies at Eden Park on Boxing Day.

"I think I've been more consistent this season," Ryder said when asked about his form.

"I think that is just down to the processes - just feet movement and being more positive in my shot selection, and patience as well.

"I think it (patience) was something I did need to work on. A couple of the 80s I've scored have been better than the 100s. Everything was moving well. The feet, hands, everything."

While a place in the one-day and T20 side seems a formality, cracking the test team is a different proposition.

Ryder has to be in the mix for the two tests against India in February but it is not clear who he would replace.

The top five looks settled. Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton have formed a successful opening combination, Kane Williamson has made the No 3 spot his own, Ross Taylor is in career-best form and captain Brendon McCullum scored a fabulous century in the first test against the West Indies in Dunedin.

Corey Anderson has increased his foothold on the all-rounder's spot with some very decent performances. But he shapes as the obvious candidate to make way, though Ryder may have to wait for an injury to force his way back.

- Otago Daily Times

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