Not for the first time in his chequered career, Jesse Ryder is the talk of the game in New Zealand.

However national coach Mike Hesson last night steered clear of preparing any groundwork for Ryder's return to the New Zealand team after a blazing start to the Plunket Shield.

The Wellington lefthander followed his first innings 117 not out against Central Districts in Napier with a belligerent 174 off only 136 balls to steer Wellington to a five-wicket win, chasing down 343 in 67 overs.

Over the course of the two innings, Ryder scored 291 runs out of 475 made while he was at the crease.


His trials and tribulations over disciplinary issues, including battles with the bottle, have been well documented. Ryder has no national contract, but that is no obstacle to a return to the New Zealand team, when it is deemed the right time by Hesson and co-selector Kim Littlejohn.

"I'm delighted for him, getting back to back hundreds," Hesson said from Pallekele where New Zealand are preparing for tonight's opening ODI against Sri Lanka.

"From all accounts he's played very well. We're certainly not going to put any pressure on him making comments in the media about his selection.

"He's started well and hopefully that'll continue."

There's no talk of timelines for a possible Ryder return, whether it be for the tour to South Africa starting on December 18, or for the home series against England from mid-February. "He's trying to get his life in order, we obviously respect that so we won't be putting any pressure on him," Hesson added.

New Zealand will be hoping for better weather tonight after a wretched night of rain ruined the only T20 international of the trip yesterday, which was called off with Sri Lanka six for none, chasing 72 from 14 overs on a Duckworth Lewis recalculation after New Zealand, sent in in treacherous batting conditions, had limped to 74 for seven from their 14 overs. Fast bowler Adam Milne is in doubt as he is suffering a stomach disorder.

Sri Lanka v New Zealand

First ODI, Pallekele, starts 10 tonight:

NZ squad: Ross Taylor (c), Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson, James Franklin, BJ Watling, Jacob Oram, Andrew Ellis, Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Ronnie Hira, Kyle Mills, Trent Boult, Adam Milne.