JD Ryder: A personal viewpoint on a favourite cricketer

It had occurred to me before now, but the fact remains that I’ve written a lot about Jesse Ryder during my five or so years as a writer.

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Favourite Blackcap? Check. Favourite cricketer? Check. Favourite sportsman? Check. Favourite sports story? Check.

They are probably the reasons why much of the cricket related content here on THE REAL MICHAEL PULMAN has revolved around Jesse Ryder.

On the face of it, Ryder seems to be a man that is troubled, but also a man that the media love to hate. On the evidence of the past few years, Ryder is a man who was superb on the field but not too amazing off it.

I always liked Jesse because of what he did to me as a viewer when I would watch him bat, he was just something a little more exciting than anyone else in the game to me, and through all the incidents off the field I always found it easy to stick by him and continue to be a fan.

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You could be forgiven if you asked me why I was a fan of what is clearly a troubled individual in the NZ Cricket community.

Simply put, I like how no matter what seems to happen off the field, Ryder always seems to come back into the conversation.

His form has just improved and improved.

Secondly, I just haven’t seen a batsmen in all my years of watching cricket who can hit the ball as far and as clean as Ryder does. He waits and waits at the crease, and then hacks at the ball. It is almost lazy, and scary too because there never seems to be much thought or effort in any of the strokes you see Jesse play, and yet nine times out of ten the ball will be hit long enough to clear any boundary in world cricket.

Especially since the Christchurch incident and the comeback to cricket from that, it seemed that on the field Ryder was in the form of his life.

To me, there is absolutely zero question that the Jesse Ryder you see with the bat at the moment is a Jesse Ryder who has never been better, form wise anyway.

When the Christchurch incident happened, my first reaction was shock, and like so many people in New Zealand, I naturally assumed that we wouldn’t see Ryder take to the crease ever again. Then what? About a year later, here he is walking out on Boxing Day at Eden Park to open the batting for the Blackcaps alongside another personal favourite of mine, Martin Guptill.

The pairing of Guptill and Ryder was my most preferential that the Blackcaps have had in recent seasons.

As this is a personal take on Ryder, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I was very, very upset and more than a little disappointed in Jesse back in February of this year when he was dropped from the Blackcaps side yet again.

What quickly saddened me was the situation, because here I was (as a fan) seeing Jesse bat for the Blackcaps once again and suddenly it was all taken away.

And in all honesty, we saw what we saw in the video but what did you really see?

Is it not ok for Ryder, a human being and grown man, to go out on the town and have a few drinks with some mates?

You have to keep in mind that we live in an age where nearly everybody has a smartphone with a camera, and anybody can snap a photo or a video and upload it to social media within seconds.

I think Jesse is just a type of person who doesn’t see himself as any different.

But he also probably realized that with his potential inclusion in the Cricket World Cup, more attention would have been placed upon him and this could be one reasons in the many for his decision to withdraw from the New Zealand A tour.

I said at the beginning of this piece that much of the cricket related content on this site has been around Jesse.

So where to now? I don’t know really.

I want to say that by some miracle cricket fans will see Jesse play in the Cricket World Cup, but it seemed unlikely a week ago, now it seems near on a forgotten wish.

I feel that it is a shame, I think it is disappointing for New Zealand Cricket and the CWC tournament, and I believe that if the Blackcaps don’t ever play Jesse again, they will be doing both themselves and cricket fans in this country a tremendous disservice. I rate Jesse, as a cricketer, one of the best to ever play the game.

But I don’t know the reasons for any of this, and in all honesty I don’t feel it is my business to know.

The media don’t know Jesse, the fans don’t know Jesse, and I don’t think even all the Blackcaps players know Jesse. I don’t know Jesse personally, bar a few conversations on social media, but if the vibes I’ve gotten from others who do know him are anything to go by, I believe that Ryder (while not being perfect) just doesn’t see himself as anything special, and someone who potentially deeply hates the media attention placed upon him.

I got a comment on Facebook the other day on a piece I wrote about Jesse and it said “good things happen to good people, and there is nothing good about him”.

Based on what? The things you hear in the media?

Sure Jesse hasn’t helped the situation over the course of his international career, I understand that completely but again, I don’t know Jesse too much personally, all I know is what I see on TV.

Jesse knows Jesse, and if I would submit anything to you it would be that if nothing else, Jesse loves playing cricket.

Despite all the talk around right now, if we never see Jesse play for the Blackcaps again I would hope that one day when he is sitting at his home he looks back on the good things he did while on the field, including playing test cricket for New Zealand and achieving the very pinnacle of what you can do as a cricketer.

The very best of luck with everything Jesse.

Mike Pulman

Ryder’s New Zealand A withdrawal due to personal reasons

Jesse Ryder will not play for New Zealand A after officially withdrawing from the side this morning citing personal reasons.

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This development makes it strongly likely that Ryder will not take any part in next years Cricket World Cup, as a provisional squad for the tournament has to be announced by December 8th.

The focus from Ryder’s current employers Otago Cricket has been on Jesse’s personal well-being rather than anything to do with cricket matters following the weekend’s incident.

News broke last night that Ryder had been drinking at an Otago Volts golf day in Dunedin and didn’t make the team’s flight to Christchurch on Saturday morning.

Shortly after Ryder told Volts management he wouldn’t be available for the game against the Canterbury Kings.

It needs to be stated that there were no complaints about Ryder’s behavior while drinking. It also needs to be heavily repeated that the NZC and Otago Cricket are both behind Ryder in his decision, and neither have condemned Jesse and his decision to withdraw from the tour.

This story also confirms that Ryder is still drinking.

Otago Cricket have no drinking restrictions for any player in the team.

In many ways it is nobody’s business how little or how much the cricketer has been drinking, no complaints have been made against Ryder either.

Otago Cricket chief executive Ross Dykes is supporting Jesse in his decision to withdraw from New Zealand A.

“Otago cricket is disappointed for Jesse but a players well-being is paramount and, with that in mind, our priority is to help him to the best outcome possible.”

Talk in the news last night was that Ryder would pull out of the New Zealand A tour to the UAE, and this morning NZ Cricket confirmed that Ryder had decided to pull out of the tour due to personal reasons.

And so,

The biggest story of this is that due to the withdrawal Ryder can now only make the Blackcaps squad for the World Cup based on domestic form alone, something that seems highly unlikely all of a sudden.

His current form for the Volts would be enough to still make a case to be let into the Blackcaps, but the general idea that had been floating around was that the New Zealand A tour was the chance for the troubled cricketer to really stake a claim back into the Blackcaps.

A personal issue is said to be the reason for Ryder’s pull out of the New Zealand A squad, due to fly out of the country in two days.

It is still possible, but a Cricket World Cup outing for Jesse Ryder appears to be getting more and more unlikely.

Knights win as Volts fall short of modest total

The Northern Knights have continued their strong start to the Georgie Pie Super Smash after the Otago Volts came just short of their 146-run target at Seddon Park this afternoon.

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Being sent in to bat first, the Knights made the best start possible to a Twenty20 match, coasting along through the first 10 overs with Dean Brownlie and Anton Devcich forming a strong partnership of 50 runs plus.

Brownlie showed just why the Knights were delighted for his signing, scoring 40 off 27.

Anton Devcich was strong with the bat today as well, ending with a solid 23 from 17.

However, it was a tale of two halves for the Knights in their innings.

After the wickets of Brownlie and Devcich, the Knights batsmen really fell away, scoring at almost just a run a ball for nearly a 6-over period.

Brownlie’s run out was one of the most silly pieces of cricket in the Georgie Pie Super Smash so far.

Had it not been from a defiant knock of 45 at the end by Daryl Mitchell, the Knights would have struggled to make 100 runs.

Nathan McCullum chipped in with a maiden over, and the hot scoring from the Knights really began to drop away from then.

In reply, Otago looked like a certainty for the win early on.

Jesse Ryder and Michael Bracewell put on over 50 runs together. Ryder was at his destructive best, scoring at will, and Bracewell began his innings with a six down the ground to get off the mark.

Once Jono Boult had broken the partnership, fortunes began to turn for the Knights, but Ryan ten Doeschate was at his brilliant best and it looked like the Dutch batsmen would steer the Volts home.

The wicket of ten Doeschate was where the Knights won this game.

Just prior to his dismissal he had blasted two sixes out of the park and considerably brought down the runs required versus balls remaining count.

In the end the Volts fell 10-runs short of their target, and the Knights win again.

But perhaps interestingly, todays result was the fourth game of the weekend that the side chasing didn’t reach what many believed to be reasonable targets.