County cricket: Essex sign controversial New Zealand star Jesse Ryder
Controversial New Zealand all-rounder Jesse Ryder is to join Essex for the rest of the season.
Last Updated: 22/04/14 2:56pm
The 29-year-old has agreed a deal with the Division Two side to play in all formats of the game.
The big-hitting left-handed batsman is expected arrive in Chelmsford ahead of Essex's Twenty20 opener, against Middlesex at Lord's on May 17.
"I'm thrilled to have been given the opportunity to represent Essex," said Ryder.
"This couldn't have come at a better time as I want to get as much cricket as possible over the New Zealand winter.
"It's an added bonus that there are a few guys I have played with before, the side looks very strong and they have got off to a good start for the season."
Ryder's domestic contract with Otago ended this month. He is currently out of favour with the national team having been disciplined after being caught in an Auckland bar on the eve of a Test match with India in February, along with team-mate Doug Bracewell.
New Zealand's selectors have refused to consider Ryder and Bracewell for the Black Caps or New Zealand A winter tour squads.
Ryder has been in excellent form for Otago in the domestic league, topping their run-scoring charts with 436 at an average of 73, with a strike rate of 125.
Ryder's fast-paced scoring will boost Essex across the board, but especially in what looks a strong Twenty20 line-up. The 18-Test all-rounder will join an explosive batting line up which already includes Ravi Bopara, Graham Napier and Ryan ten Doeschate.
Ryder was put into a medically-induced coma in March 2013 after being attacked at a Christchurch bar.
He made his return to international cricket when selected for a one-day international against the West Indies in December 2013.