You might say the ball is in Jesse Ryder's half of the pitch.
The hard-hitting left-hander was unavailable for comment yesterday but Otago Cricket Association chief executive Ross Dykes confirmed Ryder had been unhappy during the past month and it was unclear whether he would return to play for the province next summer.
"He has not made any firm commitment and neither have we made any firm commitment to him," Dykes said. "The way we have left it is once he gets into his English season and he decides that he wants to play cricket in New Zealand in the next summer, then we would like him to approach Otago first.
"That leaves it non-committal on both sides. He was not a hell of a happy chap toward the end and I think the best thing he can do is get off to England, clear his head, score some runs and then see where he wants his future to take him."
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Ryder's prospects of playing in the World Cup effectively evaporated when he made himself unavailable for the NZ A tour of Dubai last year. Last week, he skipped round nine of the Plunket Shield to compete in a charity boxing event and was suspended for the final round following a breach of New Zealand Cricket's code of conduct during Otago's match against ND in Hamilton last month.
Like a lot of cricket fans, Dykes expressed some disappointment about the direction Ryder's career took this year.
"I feel disappointed for him. But I'm sympathetic to him because he is a complex character who has fought a lot of demons. Things mount up on him and one thing leads to another with him.
"But I would be the last person to criticise him and say well, hell, he could have been there helping the Black Caps because I think all of those people who have had quite a bit to do with him know that that would not have been the best for Jesse."
Dykes felt the 30-year-old might not be lost to New Zealand Cricket. However, he suggested Ryder's future role could be limited to the one-day and T20 tournaments.
"I think he will want to come back. But what I suspect might happen is that he comes back as a freelancer ... and perhaps just looks to play white-ball cricket. If he has a real good year in England, he might get a Big Bash contract and make himself a bit of a freelance cricketer. And that might be the best thing for Jesse with the frame of mind he is in."
Ryder has a two-year contract with Essex. If he has played his last first-class game for Otago, he leaves having scored 1228 runs at an average of 58.47, including five 100s and six 50s. He also grabbed 12 wickets at 39.08 during his impressive 14-game cameo.