The prospect of watching Jesse Ryder play cricket inspired you with anticipation; the likelihood of reporting on his controversies filled you with dread.

The news Ryder missed a contract with Central Districts resonated this week.

The 33-year-old has played for CD, Wellington and Otago at various stages over 16 seasons. Are Northern Districts, Auckland or Canterbury prepared to gamble on him with the remaining spots on their roster? Or is time up on his domestic career?

Ryder's various alcohol-fuelled and indiscipline-riddled incidents have formed a melancholic and repetitive narrative through the years.


Yet to watch him in his pomp was always worth the price of admission.

As a result, Ryder's legacy is clouded by others' judgments. One man's debauchery might be another's idea of a cracking night out, but what seems certain is that the regular punctuation to his career momentum curtailed any chance of him reaching his international potential.

Ryder's last test - in an 18-match career where he averaged 40.93 - was New Zealand's victory over Australia at Hobart in 2011. He featured in limited overs contests until 2014.

He has since become cricket's version of a Harlem Globetrotter, pinballing his talents through India, England and the Caribbean.

The Stags' decision not to sign a player of Ryder's talent means they must have extraordinary confidence in their ability to develop and sustain talent elsewhere.

There's merit in that concept.

As the Plunket Shield champions and Ford Trophy and Burger King Super Smash finalists, they were the most successful major association last summer.

However, Ryder's role, at least via statistics, seemed significant. He had the highest first-class average - 71.11 from seven matches - for anyone who played more than one game in the competition.


That was complemented by an average of 42 at a strike rate of 106 in nine 50-over matches, and unleashing a 149 strike rate, including three half-centuries, in T20s.

This is no time to look through a mawkish lens at Ryder's achievements. That frame of reference has long evaporated. Hopefully he is satisfied with his body of work. This writer hopes more successful chapters await, particularly in the employment realm beyond cricket, but Ryder's chances of again representing New Zealand appear negligible.

His well-documented troubles with booze and indiscipline shadowed his career.

He became a case study for the tolerance threshold on whether to use talented but problematic players in national teams.

Debates swirled about whether taming the recidivist behaviour of a team member was the responsibility of senior players and management, or the player himself.

The likes of Ryder can be a catalyst to successful performance. Conversely, such as player can dilute collective motivation, perceived as immune to team protocol. What premise delivers the greater good?

As a result, there was a reluctance to select him at international level. He was relegated to a circus act who might perform in the right circumstances across provincial, county and club competitions.

For this cricket fan, he presented a complicated dilemma: Imagine being that talented with the bat (and with the ball and in the field) but struggling to harness it for sustained periods.

Having endured a difficult childhood, Ryder's sporting feats are, in a way, heroic. He has exceeded expectations on the field. However, his success in inspiring Struggle St's next generation remains more of a moot point.