Essex are close to completing the acquisition of Jesse Ryder as their overseas player for the current campaign, with the opening batsman set to be eligible in all formats of the game.
The New Zealander's proposed move is still subject to a visa application, but Ryder should be ready for selection within the next few weeks if all goes to plan.
After roving around the international wilderness – and spending time in a medically induced coma – the batsman is looking to get his career back on track. A recent return to the New Zealand squad in One Day cricket could act as a springboard for an impressive summer.
And according to the BBC, Ryder is raring to get going with his new county, stating: "I'm thrilled to have been given the opportunity to represent Essex. This couldn't have come at a better time as I want to get as much cricket as possible over the New Zealand winter.”
The frenzied left-hander will enjoy the short boundaries at Chelmsford, where we are likely to see him unleashing himself on opposition bowlers throughout the summer.
However, the 29-year-old is even more explosive off the field of play, and several high-profile incidents have punctuated his international career. Drink and drug-related escapades have long been a part of the baggage accompanying the hard-hitting batsman.
It’s been more than two years since Ryder last played Test cricket, despite being called up to the Kiwi squad to face India earlier in 2014. But, a drinking session the evening before a match saw his removal from the squad.
After serving a six-month ban for failing a drugs test last year, the part-time medium pacer has comeback in the domestic game, representing Otago on the other side of the world. Prior to that he was involved in the series against the West Indies, but he failed to make the cut for the World T20 in Bangladesh.
His first foray into the English game came with Ireland in 2008 – back before he won his first New Zealand cap. But that enterprise was short-lived, with notable absence from a game at the Oval leading to his deposition from the team.
Nevertheless, limited-overs cricket has often welcomed him with open arms, whether he is playing for his country or in the IPL. An impressive strike rate of 95 in One Day
Internationals and an average above 40 in Test format certainly highlights Ryder as a world-class star.
If his off-field problems desert him, then he will have a lot to offer Essex across all competitions this season. Alongside Graham Napier and Ravi Bopara, the Eagles will certainly have a formidable batting line-up for their T20 and 50-over ventures.
It seems as though Ryder is already aware of the potential of his new teammates. The New Zealander added: "The side looks very strong and they have got off to a good start for the season."
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