Cricket: Ryder goes with coach's blessing

Jesse Ryder in action for the Otago Volts in a twenty20 match against the Central Stags at the...
Jesse Ryder in action for the Otago Volts in a twenty20 match against the Central Stags at the University Oval last November. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Otago coach Nathan King says there is ''no ill blood'' between the Volts and Jesse Ryder following the troubled star's defection to Central Districts.

Ryder's future in Otago had been unclear for months but was sealed yesterday when CD announced the former Black Cap was rejoining the association for which he made his debut aged 18.

As transient players go, Ryder made a fairly seismic impression in his two summers in the South.

He was particularly brutal in white clothing, hammering 1228 runs in the Plunket Shield at an average of 58.47, including five 100s and six 50s.

But he also cut a frustrated figure towards the end of last season. Outgoing chief executive Ross Dykes summed it up when he said Ryder was ''not a happy chappy''.

Ryder skipped a Volts game to take part in a farcical charity boxing event, and was suspended for the final round of the Plunket Shield for breaching the code of conduct.

However, if there is any residual bitterness left in the Volts, they - or at least, their coach - are hiding it well.

''He goes with my blessing,'' King said yesterday.

''I've been in contact and wished him all the best. Jesse's thanked Otago cricket for what we've done for him.

''There's no ill blood there. He played some outstanding cricket for us, and is still a very talented player.

''We could be on the receiving end this summer, but that's just the way it goes.''

King said Ryder had indicated he wanted to focus on twenty20 cricket in the New Zealand summer and was reluctant to commit to playing in the first-class competition.

''We decided we'd prefer to contract someone who would be available in all three formats.

''We left the door open to Jesse in terms of playing for us for match fees only. But he's a professional cricketer, and he's got to earn a living out of it.''

King conceded Ryder's situation caused some disruption at the end of last season, but again emphasised the Volts felt they were parting on good terms.

''He was just a bit tired of cricket; it's as simple as that. There wasn't any ill blood between him and Otago cricket.

''Jesse got a bit tired of cricket, had some injuries, and everything compounded. He needed something fresh, and I think going to England has been good for him.''

Ryder has been starring for Essex - with the ball - in the County Championship. This week, he posted his second 10-wicket bag for the county.

The man himself said he was looking forward to returning to his home base at the end of the English season.

''CD gave me my first opportunity in cricket so I'm looking forward to returning and playing for the Stags again this summer,'' Ryder said in a statement.

Ryder has not mentioned any international aspirations, and it seems likely he has played his last game for the Black Caps.

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