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JD Ryder: A personal viewpoint on a favourite cricketer

It had occurred to me before now, but the fact remains that I’ve written a lot about Jesse Ryder during my five or so years as a writer.

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Favourite Blackcap? Check. Favourite cricketer? Check. Favourite sportsman? Check. Favourite sports story? Check.

They are probably the reasons why much of the cricket related content here on THE REAL MICHAEL PULMAN has revolved around Jesse Ryder.

On the face of it, Ryder seems to be a man that is troubled, but also a man that the media love to hate. On the evidence of the past few years, Ryder is a man who was superb on the field but not too amazing off it.

I always liked Jesse because of what he did to me as a viewer when I would watch him bat, he was just something a little more exciting than anyone else in the game to me, and through all the incidents off the field I always found it easy to stick by him and continue to be a fan.

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You could be forgiven if you asked me why I was a fan of what is clearly a troubled individual in the NZ Cricket community.

Simply put, I like how no matter what seems to happen off the field, Ryder always seems to come back into the conversation.

His form has just improved and improved.

Secondly, I just haven’t seen a batsmen in all my years of watching cricket who can hit the ball as far and as clean as Ryder does. He waits and waits at the crease, and then hacks at the ball. It is almost lazy, and scary too because there never seems to be much thought or effort in any of the strokes you see Jesse play, and yet nine times out of ten the ball will be hit long enough to clear any boundary in world cricket.

Especially since the Christchurch incident and the comeback to cricket from that, it seemed that on the field Ryder was in the form of his life.

To me, there is absolutely zero question that the Jesse Ryder you see with the bat at the moment is a Jesse Ryder who has never been better, form wise anyway.

When the Christchurch incident happened, my first reaction was shock, and like so many people in New Zealand, I naturally assumed that we wouldn’t see Ryder take to the crease ever again. Then what? About a year later, here he is walking out on Boxing Day at Eden Park to open the batting for the Blackcaps alongside another personal favourite of mine, Martin Guptill.

The pairing of Guptill and Ryder was my most preferential that the Blackcaps have had in recent seasons.

As this is a personal take on Ryder, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I was very, very upset and more than a little disappointed in Jesse back in February of this year when he was dropped from the Blackcaps side yet again.

What quickly saddened me was the situation, because here I was (as a fan) seeing Jesse bat for the Blackcaps once again and suddenly it was all taken away.

And in all honesty, we saw what we saw in the video but what did you really see?

Is it not ok for Ryder, a human being and grown man, to go out on the town and have a few drinks with some mates?

You have to keep in mind that we live in an age where nearly everybody has a smartphone with a camera, and anybody can snap a photo or a video and upload it to social media within seconds.

I think Jesse is just a type of person who doesn’t see himself as any different.

But he also probably realized that with his potential inclusion in the Cricket World Cup, more attention would have been placed upon him and this could be one reasons in the many for his decision to withdraw from the New Zealand A tour.

I said at the beginning of this piece that much of the cricket related content on this site has been around Jesse.

So where to now? I don’t know really.

I want to say that by some miracle cricket fans will see Jesse play in the Cricket World Cup, but it seemed unlikely a week ago, now it seems near on a forgotten wish.

I feel that it is a shame, I think it is disappointing for New Zealand Cricket and the CWC tournament, and I believe that if the Blackcaps don’t ever play Jesse again, they will be doing both themselves and cricket fans in this country a tremendous disservice. I rate Jesse, as a cricketer, one of the best to ever play the game.

But I don’t know the reasons for any of this, and in all honesty I don’t feel it is my business to know.

The media don’t know Jesse, the fans don’t know Jesse, and I don’t think even all the Blackcaps players know Jesse. I don’t know Jesse personally, bar a few conversations on social media, but if the vibes I’ve gotten from others who do know him are anything to go by, I believe that Ryder (while not being perfect) just doesn’t see himself as anything special, and someone who potentially deeply hates the media attention placed upon him.

I got a comment on Facebook the other day on a piece I wrote about Jesse and it said “good things happen to good people, and there is nothing good about him”.

Based on what? The things you hear in the media?

Sure Jesse hasn’t helped the situation over the course of his international career, I understand that completely but again, I don’t know Jesse too much personally, all I know is what I see on TV.

Jesse knows Jesse, and if I would submit anything to you it would be that if nothing else, Jesse loves playing cricket.

Despite all the talk around right now, if we never see Jesse play for the Blackcaps again I would hope that one day when he is sitting at his home he looks back on the good things he did while on the field, including playing test cricket for New Zealand and achieving the very pinnacle of what you can do as a cricketer.

The very best of luck with everything Jesse.

Mike Pulman

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