Everything about Jesse Ryder suggests he is not ready to
make an international comeback.
The burly Wellington left-hander said he would reassess his
self-imposed exile after Christmas but his body language
yesterday suggested he might need a longer break.
His batting has always had a devil-may-care streak but he
makes up for any shortcomings with superb balance and
fantastic hand-eye co-ordination.
And when he is at his best, his batting is exhilarating to
But watching him throw his bat around during Wellington's
twenty/20 match with Otago at the University Oval was not
Wellington was chasing 205 for victory and, to be fair, Ryder
appeared the only player in the line-up capable of helping
the visiting side steal an unlikely win.
But his punchy 37 from 28 deliveries was a long way from the
type of class innings he has played in the past. He heaved
and hoicked and eventually ran out of luck with a limp
mistimed pull shot to midwicket.
The irony, of course, is Ryder is the leading run-scorer in
the HRV Cup and has been plundering attacks in the Plunket
Shield as well, with 558 runs at an average of 69.75.
His decision to restrict himself to domestic cricket is
counting where it counts the most - on the scoreboard.
''There is definitely not as much pressure on me,'' Ryder
''Jamie [Siddons, Wellington coach] has let me prepare how I
need to prepare and have the freedom to go out and play my
own game. Having someone that understands me has helped a lot
and everything is going pretty well at the moment.''
Everyone, it seems, is holding their breath Ryder will have a
change of heart and make himself available for New Zealand
Whether his current - read reckless - approach to batting
will work outside the New Zealand domestic scene is a moot
point, because Ryder is not ready.
''At this stage I'm still taking it day by day. I'll reassess
just after Christmas and see how I'm going and where I want
to be in the future. But right now, I'm just happy playing
for the Firebirds.''