Wellington: Troubled New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder will return from a self-imposed exile to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) next month and will bring his psychologist along for support.
Ryder, who has been involved in many alcohol-related incidents throughout his career, announced an indefinite break from the game after being handed a one-match ban for drinking following an ODI against South Africa last month. Although the reason for the break was never specified, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive David White said on Thursday that Ryder "has reached the point where he is ready to play competitive cricket again".
White said cricket would always be an important element in Ryder's return to full health and fitness, and playing for the Pune Warriors India in the IPL offered him the opportunity to play at a challenging level.
"He has clear expectations from NZC in terms of what is required from him to make a return to international cricket, and playing in the IPL is a good first step."
Ryder's clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo and manager Aaron Klee will also travel to India to continue their work with the accomplished batsman.
"Jesse has been making steady progress over the past few weeks. While the IPL has clear challenges and is a big step, I believe he's ready to take it," Nimmo said. "Cricket is Jesse's job and what he's good at, so I was keen to see him return to the game as soon as practical, but only with the right structures in place."
Klee said a comprehensive support structure had been prepared with the full backing of the Pune management.
"Karen is traveling to India the day after Jesse and will continue her work with him there while I'll be going over a little later to carry that work on," Klee said. "Jesse is desperate to perform on and off the field and get his career back on track."