Cricket: Ryder only one of 11 to worry about, Johnson says

Jesse Ryder
Jesse Ryder
Jesse Ryder may be dispatching balls to all corners of the park but to Otago coach Vaughn Johnson he is just another player.

The Ryder show rolls into Dunedin tomorrow as Wellington comes to face Otago at the University Oval.

Otago switches into fulltime twenty/20 mode for the next month and starts by facing the most destructive batsman in the country.

The Volts have played two twenty/20 matches, with a win and a loss, and Johnson said it would be good to be able to concentrate fulltime on the shortest version of the game.

''It is hard going from four-day cricket to twenty/20 cricket and then going back to four-day cricket. At least now, a good thing is we have a run of eight games where we are just playing the one form of cricket,'' Johnson said.

Wellington has won two of three games, with Ryder almost directly responsible for both those victories.

But he is not getting any special attention from Otago.

''They are a team of 11 players in their side and he is only one of them. We have to prepare for the whole side. They have a couple of quality imports who can be dangerous. They are a quality side but I have been saying it all season - we just have to worry about how we play.''

Otago showed some pleasing form last Friday night with a good win over Northern Districts in Hamilton.

Johnson said players stood up and made key plays.

''I think we may have taken them a bit by surprise. There was a lot of talk about the players we lost to the New Zealand side. And that is true but we had a couple of quality players come in who really stood up.''

Import Ryan ten Doeschate has quickly made his mark for Otago and was an impressive performer in the victory last Friday night.

''He is a good all-round guy who is really enhancing and making an impression with the young players. We are confident he will do the job.''

Young all-rounder James Fuller, who is using his British passport to play county cricket for Gloucestershire, is another player who had made the most of his chance.

Batsman Hamish Rutherford and spinner Mark Craig are both in doubt for tomorrow's game with hand injuries.

They would be assessed today on their availability but Johnson said it was hard to tell their chances of playing as both had soft tissue injuries. Otago has named 13, with Blair Soper coming into the squad for South African-bound Neil Wagner Otago was hampered by the weather when it finished fourth last year in the twenty/20 competition, and Johnson is hoping fine weather will enable his side to show its wares.

With the Black Caps away in South Africa for the tournament, the likes of Ryder and Otago players such as Aaron Redmond and Rutherford may become the keys.

Imports will have a big part to play and Otago looks as though it has struck the jackpot with ten Doeschate.

After tomorrow's game, Otago will enjoy Christmas before taking on Canterbury in Timaru on December 27.


Otago v Wellington
University Oval, tomorrow, 2pm
Otago: Sam Wells (c), Nick Beard, Michael Bracewell, Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Mark Craig, Ryan ten Doeschate, Jacob Duffy, James Fuller, Aaron Redmond, Iain Robertson, Hamish Rutherford, Blair Soper.
Wellington: Grant Elliott (c), Jesse Ryder, Tamim Iqbal, Chris Woakes, Scott Kuggeleijn, Dane Hutchinson, Michael Papps, Michael Pollard, Luke Ronchi, Luke Woodcock, Mark Houghton, Harry Boam.