Jesse Ryder’s recent displays for Essex appear to finally mark a turning point in the New Zealander’s career.
Ryder took ten wickets as his side drew with Kent in the County Championship last week, the first time he has ever achieved such a feat.
His move to England seems to have done untold good, though it is hard to believe that this is the same player who took an indefinite break from the game just two years ago due to a string of disciplinary problems, compounded by injury.
2013 saw an even worse downturn in fortunes for the Kiwi all-rounder, as he was left in intensive care following an attack outside a bar in Christchurch.
Ryder was left in a coma for several days with a fractured skull, but after making an incredible recovery, his return was further delayed, and he received another black mark against his name after failing a routine drug test.
Numerous disputes with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) have also followed him throughout his career, and he has been punished several times for discrepancies involving alcohol.
His off-field difficulties have sadly prevented the NZC from offering him a central contract in the past, even after captain Brendan McCullum and team mate Ross Taylor voiced their support.
However, since making his return to international cricket, he scored the sixth fastest ODI century against the West Indies at the turn of the year, and also earned a contract with Essex.
Since joining the Eagles, the 29-year-old is yet to put questions over his temperament to bed entirely, but he is certainly going a long way towards restoring his reputation as one of the game’s most talented all-rounders.
Looking ever more comfortable in English cricket, Ryder has perhaps found his spiritual home after switching sides in New Zealand after reportedly falling out with team mates at Wellington Firebirds.
A move to Otago Volts saw some improvement, where he hit two centuries and two fifties, but having now moved for a spell in England, there is no sign of plain sailing just yet.
Ryder is currently missing out on the current series between New Zealand and West Indies because he had not done enough to prove he had got past his issues with fitness and alcohol.
Yet, despite having only played 18 Tests for his country, if he can continue his recent form at Chelmsford, he will surely be on course to return to the international fold sooner rather than later.
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