Jesse Ryder – a man who has made a career out of losing his dignity and spooning cookie dough into his mouth full-time – has shocked the cricketing world this morning by injuring himself while sober. The punishing left-hander sustained a rotator cuff injury to his shoulder yesterday at training prior to the first ODI of the Chappell-Hadlee series, and an MRI scan will today determine the length of his absence from the Black Caps.
Team-mates expressed their surprise and disappointment at Ryder’s conduct, particularly ahead of such a vital series.
“I’m stunned, to be honest,” said captain Daniel Vettori. “You look at Jesse and his physique and you figure the one thing you can rely on is for him to have a pretty relaxed attitude to training.”
“I lie awake at night after big games worrying about what he might be up to, but at training – I mean, that’s where Jake [Jacob Oram] or Millsy might go down, but Jesse? Not one one of the most enthusiastic guys in the group, you’d have to say.”
Ryder has a history of off-field incidents, including threats to become an Irish international, his infamous glass-punching incident in Christchurch’s Stock Exchange bar and a suspension earlier this month due to breaking team protocol while out drinking in Wellington, which some around the side saw as a prelude to this incident.
“I’ve not been here long, but I knew something was up with Jesse when he had that late night in the capital,” said coach Andy Moles. “Jesse’s a meat-and-two-veg – actually make that, three-pies-and-a-sausage-roll – type of guy. What’s he doing out in Wellington? Were Little Bushman playing? Or Fly My Pretties? I mean, seriously. It didn’t make any sense.
“Now with Ryder injuring himself at training today you can see that as the first sign that something wasn’t right with the lad. To do a shoulder you have to be really putting your back into your bowling, and Jesse’s never hit 135 in his life. We’ll be taking a look at his entire program today – this is well out of character.”
Otago Opener Craig Cumming has been drafted in to replace him, though he lacks the physical dimensions of Ryder, and our pack will lose around 60-70kg as a result of the the burly prop’s shoulder injury.
The Ryderless Black Caps play Australia at the WACA in Perth this coming Sunday.