Jesse Ryder has not lost the flair in his exile from international cricket, spanning over two years now    Getty Images
Jesse Ryder has not lost the flair in his exile from international cricket, spanning over two years now Getty Images

The undisputed bad boy of New Zealand cricket (yes, such a thing exists) is Jesse Ryder. It’s a series of behavioural problems that has seen him miss out on international cricket for over two years now. While he finds it unreasonably difficult to keep his instincts at bay, he is equally inclined to do well on the cricket field. Blessed with abounding talent, Ryder has never seized to capture imagination of masses when at centre-stage. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) might have had good reason to reprimand the maverick with non-selection, but now with the retirement of Brendon McCullum looming, New Zealand needs a man of equal vibrancy to step in. Ryder might be the best prospect to do so, feels Rishad D’Souza. Jesse Ryder: Cricket s 21st-century cult hero

In terms of mannerisms off field Ryder and McCullum are poles apart. McCullum is a gentle guy who enjoys his beer, indulges in horse-racing and makes time for family. Ryder likes his beer too, except he takes it consumption to a level that may be, and alcohol has often interfered with his career. For a second sport he has taken to boxing! RELATED: Brendon McCullum retirement: Indian masses being denied broadcast for farewell series is baffling

Even on field, their behavioural patterns are disparate. McCullum deals with smiles and refrains from sledging. Ryder is less generous with the smile and while instances of him sledging are rare, he is not one to take down an incoming verbal onslaught lying down. He gives it back in equal measure.

Yet, through their different means, they have similar impacts on the game and the atmosphere of competition. They have similar approaches to the game which revolves around bludgeoning bowlers to the cleaners irrespective of the game situation. And his inability to be as energetic a fieldsman as McCullum is compensated for by his deceptive seam up bowling.

In the aftermath of McCullum’s retirement there are a variety of great cricketers in the New Zealand set up to take the game forward in terms of pure cricketing ability. In fact, newly crowned skipper, Kane Williamson is the only New Zealand batsman who has occupied the No. 1 spot in Test cricket since the modern ranking system was introduced. Similarly, Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor are equally influential with the bat. Tim Southee and Trent Boult are bowlers of great discipline.

As such, New Zealand are a very wholesome team despite the impending departure of McCullum. However, what they do lack is the level of captivation that a McCullum or Ryder are able to generate. Most of these players in the current setup are typically soft-spoken Kiwis. Ryder, by his personality, can inject a level of electric aura in the team, which will be glaringly absent once McCullum goes.

Ryder needs to suppress his impulsive behaviour to make a compelling case for himself. On their part, the management has to realise the gravity of Ryder’s presence in the team and fast-track his reinstatement. Ryder can bring a certain degree of mental fortitude to the team within which the others will have a greater sense of clarity in their dealings.

However, one cannot make a claim for himself in an international team purely based on character. Numbers on the board are critical. Going by his recent performances in domestic New Zealand cricket and county cricket before that, Ryder has not lost anything in way of performances.

Ryder has still a lot to contribute to this team. The 31-year-old will also bring with himself a degree a experience to the team. What New Zealand will miss most, however, is McCullum’s flair, and Ryder seems the apt person to caulk that void.

(Rishad D Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)