Home > Features > Moments in history >

Jesse Ryder: A talent who is yet to arrive in full flow

Jesse Ryder: A talent who is yet to arrive in full flow

Jesse Ryder © Getty Images

Jesse Ryder, born on August 6, 1984, is one of the most talented batsmen produced by New Zealand in recent times. For someone with an abundance of ability, he is yet to unleash his full potential at the highest level. Nishad Pai Vaidya traces Ryder’s tough journey.
Some players look natural at whatever they do. There is a certain amount of flair to their game and it makes them entertaining to watch. They are crowd-pullers and people would pay to watch them in full flow and dominate the opposition. Jesse Ryder, the New Zealand southpaw is one such player with an abundance of talent that has shown glimpses of brilliance at the highest level. Yet, his journey has been turbulent with off-field issues marring his progress. Nevertheless, there is hope for the future and international cricket awaits his return.

Early days

Born on August 6, 1984, in Wellington, Ryder had an unsettled childhood and took to cricket early. The natural flair was evident and his first representative game was for the Central Districts Under-17s in the year 2000. A couple of years down the line, he was representing New Zealand at the Under-19 World Cup alongside the likes of Ross Taylor, Neil Broom, Rob Nicol and Peter Borren. He made his senior debut for Central Districts in a List A match in December 2002 and followed it up with a maiden First-Class game in February the next year.

In his maiden season, he averaged over 60 in First-Class cricket to highlight his potential. However, his first brush with a higher level came in 2005 when he was picked for New Zealand A to play Sri Lanka. In his first two games for them he smashed 88 and 100. Overall, he was a success and was thought of as a future prospect for the senior side.

However, in the middle of 2007, he went to play for Ireland and threatened to leave New Zealand cricket as he was frustrated at not getting a break into the main team. He had been playing for their representative sides and had done quite well. His stint with Ireland did not last very long. In early 2008, his prayers were finally answered when he was called up for the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20 Internationals against England at home.

International career and brushes with controversy

On T20 debut for New Zealand in February 2008, Ryder’s ability to hit the ball cleanly was evident. A few days down the line he made his ODI debut and in his second game he hammered 79 not out off 62 balls to take New Zealand home by 10 wickets. There was some talk about his weight, but with performances he had shown that it didn’t matter. However, there was a controversy in the offing and after the fifth ODI of the series, he hurt himself as he tried to enter a washroom in a bar. The injury was so severe that it ruled him out for almost three months, which robbed him off the chance of donning the Test cap.

In late 2008, he made a comeback during the tour of Bangladesh, where he finally made his Test debut. However, he had another drunken incident in early 2009 and that led to his axing from an ODI against West Indies. Ryder was looking for redemption — something that could prove to the world that he was here to stay. It was all going to change in a matter of months.

When India arrived in February 2009, Ryder was ready to make a mark. During the ODI series, he essayed impressive innings that highlighted his hard-hitting ability. He made it look nonchalant and the ease with which he smashed the ball stunned everyone. He had the hand-eye co-ordination to back it. Apart from that, his slow medium-pacers were a handful and could nag a batsman into throwing his wicket away. Contrary to what his physique may have suggested, he seemed to be quite quick on the field, with great reflexes to stop the ball from going past him. In an ODI against India at Christchurch, he hit a brilliant century which made the boundaries look even shorter. The Indians were given a run for their money as New Zealand almost challenged a 390-plus total.

Jesse Ryder: A talent who is yet to arrive in full flow

An attacking batsman…. Jesse Ryder is a game-changer in any format © Getty Images

During the Test series that followed, Ryder was in his elements again as he carted a maiden hundred in the first game. However, it was during the second Test that he showcased his potential. Batting first, New Zealand tottering at 23 for three when he took the attack to the Indians in the company of Taylor. His innings of 201 and Taylor’s 151 took New Zealand to a seemingly impossible 619 for nine. India had to follow on, but Gautam Gambhir’s heroics helped them hold on for a draw.

That made one feel that Ryder had arrived on the scene. But then, injuries came to the fore as they hampered his progress big time. He continued to score runs in his appearances, but missed quite a few games due to niggles in 2009-10. On the tough tour of India in late 2010, Ryder was one of the stars in the Test series as he hit a ton and two fifties. The innings of 103 came under extreme pressure and was similar to the double hundred he had scored against the same opposition. Batting first, India had amassed 487. Ryder walked in when New Zealand were 131 for three and smashed a century to rescue his side. New Zealand gave India a few scares, but the home side scripted another jail-break.

In the lead-up to the 2011 World Cup, Ryder hit 107 in an ODI against Pakistan to affirm his spot. He had a decent tournament in the sub-continent and the highlight was his innings of 83 which helped set a platform for an unexpected victory over the Proteas in the quarter-final.

Early in 2012, Ryder found himself in the eye of the storm again. In a T20 International against South Africa, he was blamed for a defeat. New Zealand needed 17 to win off four overs and Ryder was nearing his fifty. He took seven deliveries to move from 49 to 50 and ultimately the team lost by three runs. A few days down the line, he was found guilty of breaking the team rules as he went out with Doug Bracewell and had an argument at a hotel. The whole scenario was depressing and Ryder announced that he was taking an indefinite break from cricket. He did however travel to India for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2012, playing for Pune Warriors India, with his manager and psychologist.

Ryder had a decent season in 2012-13 and there was talk about a possible comeback. Through all that, he brushed it aside by saying that he wasn’t ready for it. Then disaster struck. In March 2013, a few men attacked him outside a restaurant in Christchurch and left him with serious head injuries. That prevented him from turning up for the Delhi Daredevils at the IPL and he is yet to make a return to cricket at the time of writing. During the next season, he would be seen playing for Otago.

As Ryder turns 29, many would say that he should have played more than 18 Tests and 39 ODIs. Time is still on his side and he might yet make a splendid comeback. Given his talent, one cannot write him off and his latest experience will only make him stronger and more eager to return.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Pakistan eye victory as Australia reel at 59/4 at stumps on Day 4

Suresh Raina gifts Aditya Garhwal an autographed bat

Dwayne Bravo says West Indies pull-out had everybody’s consent

Bangladesh gain upper-hand over Zimbabwe at stumps on Day 1 of 1st Test

David Warner and others with records related to hundreds in consecutive Test innings

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan considered skipping Tests

Michael Clarke: Younis Khan is one of the gentlemen of our game

Duleep Trophy 2014: Central Zone to meet South Zone in final

Pakistan eye victory as Australia reel at 59/4 at stumps on Day 4

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: David Warner admits that Australia is not scared of big targets

Younis Khan scores 26th ton to establish Pakistan record

Younis Khan becomes seventh Pakistani cricketer to score two hundreds in a Test

Virat Kohli and others with 20 ODI hundreds

David Warner and others with records related to hundreds in consecutive Test innings

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here