Those in the business of looking after Jesse Ryder's well-being, including the big man himself, have made a big call in walking away from all cricket for a while.
A big call, but the right call.
Ryder is not all right. He's no longer just a kid doing what every other young New Zealand male does, except with five times the scrutiny. He's now an adult on a tricky path that can lead either to self-destruction or, hopefully, late-blooming self-awareness. The fishbowl existence of high-profile sport seems at the moment less likely to lead him down the right path.
Those who advocate that NZ Cricket should now just wash their hands of Ryder after all the wasted chances they have given him need to consider this: forget for a moment that he is a talented cricketer and just remember he's a human. Should any organisation be in the business of washing their hands of troubled individuals?
Every cricket fan in the country should hope that we see a return of the Jesse Ryder who stroked a beautiful double-century against India three years ago. Every human in the country should hope we see the return of a healthy and mostly happy Jesse Ryder.
Ingram pulls the pin
Central Districts stalwart Peter Ingram has retired. The 33-year-old has been battling an Achilles tendon injury this season and has pulled the pin after 10 years at first-class level, including a brief foray into international cricket.
"I'm away from home for 90 per cent of the time during the season and with two young boys your priorities start to change," he said. "I would have loved to have played more for New Zealand as well, but it became obvious this year that I was not in the selectors' frame so committing myself to my family becomes the most important thing."
Ingram retires as the second-highest run scorer in first-class cricket for CD behind Mathew Sinclair. A late bloomer, Ingram started becoming prolific only when he ignored coaches and just concentrated on seeing the ball and hitting it. Despite constantly being at or near the top of the run-scoring charts, he was often overlooked for national duty in favour of those less successful who looked the part.
He will return to teaching full-time at New Plymouth's Francis Douglas Memorial College.
ICC tour decision suspect
Fica have never needed much excuse to aim both barrels at the International Cricket Council, but this time it is hard not to side with the body that administers the various players' associations.
The ICC has announced the Bangladesh tour to Pakistan will be played under a "special dispensation". This means it won't be sending any of its match officials and will instead rely on locals to umpire. So let's get this right: it's not safe for its umpires and officials to tour - and the latest commissioned reports suggest Pakistan is still some way from being able to provide the necessary sureties around security - but the Bangers will be okay?
It's simple, surely. It's either safe to tour, or it's not. We don't need Bangladesh being sent as guinea pigs to find out. Can you imagine the ICC doing the same with England or Australia? Didn't think so.
Marshall equals Bradburn record
Congratulations to James Marshall, who yesterday equalled Grant Bradburn's record of 115 appearances in first-class matches for Northern Districts.
Exercising the mind
Good to see Martin Guptill catching up on some reading while cooling his heels on the sidelines at University Oval. What was it broadening his mind? Catcher in the Rye? To Kill a Mockingbird? Try the 2011 New Zealand Cricket Almanack instead.
Eden Park open day
Grab your bat and ball and head down to Eden Park tomorrow for a rare chance to have a hit on the oval. From 10am to 2pm the park is having a public open day. All it requires is a gold coin donation that will go to St John, which has been treating players of all codes at the park since 1930. There representatives from the Auckland cricket and rugby teams, as well as Warriors, Breakers and NZ Football, will be available to play interactive games with the kids.
All in the timing
It's all in the timing, and Hashim Amla had it at the end of the opening day of the test in Dunedin. At that point South Africa were 191 for seven and Amla was asked what was expected from the remaining batsmen the next morning. No 9 Vernon Philander was a handy batsman, he said. "Obviously we're hoping Vernon and Jacques [Rudolph] can hang around for a while. Then we've got Morne and Imran ..." Amla smiled slowly. Cue general laughter at Amla's tacit acknowledgment that the last named Morkel and Tahir were not in the team for their batting talents.
Chris Martin let slip after sitting on a hat-trick in South Africa's first innings that he'd not taken one since his pre-stubble years. He took three in a row during his Tom Brown schooldays. Now considering he is 16, 15 and 14 years older than his three fast-medium compadres in the Dunedin test - Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult and Tim Southee respectively - it raises an interesting thought: Did Martin snaffle that high-school hat-trick before the other trio were born?
We at IE Towers are not in the business of naming and shaming, so the identity of the South African cricketer who, having completed a gruelling run on the Durban seafront, remarked, "So this is what it's like training at altitude", will remain nameless. Incidentally, it is a line also attributed to England prop Victor Ubogu, but we have it on good authority a cricketer of some repute also made the comment.