WELLINGTON, (Reuters) – New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder moved a step closer to resurrecting his international career yesterday when he was named in the New Zealand ‘A’ side for a three-day match against West Indies later this month.
The 29-year-old has been in self-imposed exile from the national side for nearly two years, during which time he has served a six-month doping ban and survived an assault that left him in a coma with serious head injuries.
“It will be great to see Jesse back in a New Zealand team environment but it’s simply another opportunity for him to show that he can perform consistently,” national selection manager Bruce Edgar said.
An aggressive left-handed batsman, Ryder has had several brushes with cricket officials and been suspended on numerous occasions for breaches of team protocol.
He asked not to be considered for the national side again until he sorted out personal issues and last played for New Zealand in Feb. 2012.
Ryder spent almost a week in hospital in March this year after an incident outside a Christchurch bar left him with a fractured skull and rib injuries. He was kept in an induced coma for more than two days.
While he was recovering from the assault, he was informed he had tested positive for two stimulants which are banned in competition and handed a six-month provisional ban on April 19.
The ban ended in October and, after he had moved to play first-class cricket for Otago following almost a decade in Wellington, he scored a first-class century on debut for his new province against his former team.
Ryder said he would need to continue to score runs in first class cricket level before he would even contemplate returning to the national side.
His selection for the ‘A’ side has indicated a willingness of the New Zealand team to consider him for the visits of West Indies and India this summer.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum will lead the ‘A’ side in the Nov. 27-29 match in Christchurch as he returns to the field after returning home early from the recent tour of Bangladesh with a back injury.
The first test of the series against West Indies is in Dunedin from Dec. 3, although local media have reported that Ryder may not be included until the limited-overs series begins on Dec. 26.