Jesse Ryder Biography
While Richard Hadlee had insisted that Jesse Ryder could have formed an explosive pair with Brendon McCullum, Adam Parore had vehemently opposed to Ryder’s selection on the grounds that he was too overweight and unfit to play for New Zealand.
Ryder is a man from the bygone era when cricket used to be about fun: he pulls nonchalantly, flicks with panache, and makes the on-drive look ridiculously simple. On his day he can tear into any bowling attack. Additionally, he bowls innocuous-looking military-medium (which often separates set batsmen) and despite his girth, is amazingly athletic on the field, especially at gully.
Unfortunately, addiction to alcohol and “banned substances” led to him receiving one ban after another, and his appearance has been restricted to a handful of matches despite a 2008 debut. When things seemed to have fallen in place, he was at the wrong end of a violent assault outside a Christchurch bar, following which he was dished out another suspension. In the interim he had stints for Essex and two Indian Premier League sides.
Despite a disturbed childhood, despite being more in than out of the side, Ryder continues to amaze whenever he is back. Despite not being a big scorer, he is a crowd-puller, perhaps more than some of his devastating partners like McCullum himself and Ross Taylor.
Cricket would have been a lot poorer without Jesse Ryder. There have been many quality performers throughout the history of the sport, but few would light up the ground in a casual, lazy spectacle of elegant yet devastating batsmanship.