Millennium Post

The other side of Ryder

New Zealand cricket’s wild child Jesse Ryder, seriously injured in a vicious assault this week, is a huge talent with the bat who struggles with alcohol demons and is a self-confessed bad boy.

In a tumultuous international career marred by a string of disciplinary lapses, the powerful all-rounder averages 40.93 in 18 Tests but last year went into self-imposed exile to sort out his ‘personal issues’.

The 28-year-old, who continues to catch the eye in domestic competition, has rejected all overtures to return to the New Zealand team, despite public clamour for his recall.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Ryder was rushed to hospital after being assaulted as he left a bar in the South Island city of Christchurch.Ryder had been drinking with his Wellington team-mates after a season-ending loss to Canterbury, but police said alcohol was not a factor in the beating he sustained.

Witnesses said the attack appeared unprovoked. But drink has frequently been at the centre of Ryder’s troubles and the player has in the past sought psychological help to help get his career back on track.

In a 2010 interview he revealed how his life changed when his parents split. ‘Dad bounced when I was about 14; he just took off man. He just dropped me off at a mate’s one day and said he’d see me in a week. He never came back,’ he told the Sunday News.

His formative teenage years were spent moving around friends’ homes, sleeping on their couches and forming an association with alcohol.

‘I guess I could be classed as a bad boy and it’s true, I did like going out (drinking). It wasn’t so much fighting, more so just getting on the beers with the boys.’
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