New captain Brendon McCullum has made contact with the
in-form Jesse Ryder and believes it's only a matter of time
before one of the country's best batsmen is back in the New
McCullum also revealed today that he has spoken to former
skipper Ross Taylor - also taking a break from the
international game - as he attempts to bring a team together
under the most difficult of circumstances.
Ryder, unavailable for the Black Caps while he works on
personal issues, is proving to be an extremely big fish in
New Zealand's small domestic cricket pond.
The Wellington player was dismissed for 162 today in a
Plunket Shield four-day match against Central Districts at
Karori Park in the capital. His knock, the latest in a run of
big scores, came off 174 balls and included 20 fours and four
Ryder opened the season with consecutive hundreds against
Central Districts and last week smashed 75 in an HRV Cup
Twenty20 match, also against CD. He has now amassed 704 runs
in all formats, including three centuries, at an average of
On the eve of his departure to South Africa for what the new
skipper described as a "monumental" two-test, three one-day
international and three-Twenty20 tour, McCullum said Ryder
was a player he would dearly love to have on board.
"I've been in touch with Jesse," McCullum said. "He's going
really well. I was really pleased he again scored a lot of
runs in this game. He's doing great at the moment and I'm
sure he'll be back in the not too distant future.
"It's about Jesse getting out of first-class cricket in the
next months what he needs, and that's the most important
Asked if it was tough watching the 28-year-old plunder
attacks to all corners of New Zealand's grounds without being
able to bat alongside him in an international, McCullum said:
"Of course it's tough. Jesse is a world-class player and
we've seen that already in his time in international cricket,
but the circumstances are that Jesse is unavailable at the
moment and that's unfortunate.
"I guess you think of the person first and, once we get Jesse
back down the track, we'll know that we'll get consistent
long-term success from him rather than him coming back a
little bit too early."
England's tour to New Zealand in February and March could be
the first time Ryder is back in the black cap and McCullum
will also hope that's when Taylor makes himself available
again after his withdrawal from the team in the wake of the
recent captaincy controversy.
"He [Taylor] needs a bit of space at the moment. He's going
through a very tough time and my thoughts and the team's
thoughts are with him. It's similar to Jesse. When he's good
and ready to come back into the team, it would be great to
have him. Again, he's obviously a world-class player and by
far and away our best batsman as well."
The fallout from coach Mike Hesson's decision to strip Taylor
of the captaincy will turn in yet another direction at the
Basin Reserve tomorrow after New Zealand Cricket called a
press conference at the ground involving chairman Chris
Moller and chief executive David White. Moller has yet to
comment on the saga.
While McCullum's first aim is to bring his team together, the
travel plans for South Africa have already put a spanner in
the works. The Black Caps will travel to the Republic on
separate flights over the next two days, hardly ideal given
they are flying into a country ranked No 1 in tests and No 2