Essex are confident New Zealander Jesse Ryder will prove a shrewd signing
Essex head coach Paul Grayson insists Jesse Ryder can force his way back into New Zealand's plans this summer.
Last Updated: 24/04/14 2:43pm
The powerful batsman has been signed as Essex's overseas player for all formats of the game this season following a troubled 12 months on and off the pitch.
Ryder and seamer Doug Bracewell were dropped from the Black Caps squad for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh after they breached team rules over drinking ahead of the first Test against India in February.
The 29-year-old was placed into a medically-induced coma in March last year after he was violently attacked at a bar in Christchurch, and many predicted the incident would end his career.
But Ryder was recalled by New Zealand to face the West Indies in December before falling foul of the authorities over a number of disciplinary issues.
However, Grayson believes Essex are not taking a huge gamble in signing the explosive Kiwi, and he is confident Ryder can get "back on the right track" this summer.
"Some of the off-field things that have happened in the past, I'm not too fussed about," said Grayson. "I like a challenge, I like to manage people and I think we can do that.
"He'll come with a clean slate to us, and just hopefully between us we can look after him and make him feel welcome at the club.
"Hopefully he scores loads of runs for us and helps us win matches. If it works well we're in a win-win situation, because he wants to get back in the New Zealand squad, so if he plays well for us that will be brilliant."
Essex are already helping spinner Monty Panesar's fight for a way back into England contention following his release by Sussex last year after he was fined by police for urinating on nightclub bouncers in Brighton last August.
"We'd like to help Jesse get back into the New Zealand fold, like we want any player to win international recognition," added Grayson. "That's one of the reasons we signed Monty as well.
"I think Monty lost his way a little bit last year, but we know that if we can get Monty back in a good place, he'll bowl well for Essex and he's got a very good chance of getting back in the Test side.
"We might have a bit of a reputation for rescuing one or two people's careers, but I'm more than happy to do that."
Essex now await confirmation of Ryder's visa approval after New Zealand Cricket signed a no-objection certificate, and he is scheduled to make his County Championship debut against Leicestershire early next month.
"We just hope he enjoys himself, we'll show him a bit of love and aim to get him back on the right track, that's the most important thing," said Grayson.
"I'd like to back myself, that we can manage to do that as a club, along with a strong core of experienced, senior players, that's very important.
"They will drive that on the field, but myself and (assistant coach) Chris Silverwood off the field will keep an eye on any other issues.
"It's exciting, Jesse will put a few bums on seats, he's an entertainer and that's what we want.
"He gives the ball a smack, he'll probably open the batting for us in one-day cricket, and bat middle-order in four-day cricket.
"Graham Napier has played with him, and has spoken very highly of him as a person and the way he goes about his cricket."