Thursday, 24 April 2014, 02:53pm
Grayson: Ryder can revive career
Ryder was confirmed as Essex's overseas signing in all formats this week and Grayson believes the troubled Kiwi can get "back on the right track", after being excluded from the Black Caps' winter tours.
Big-hitting batsman Ryder and seamer Doug Bracewell were dropped from the World Twenty20 after a drinking session the night before New Zealand's first Test against India in February.
Ryder was put into a medically-induced coma in March 2013 after an attack at a Christchurch bar.
The 29-year-old returned to international cricket against the West Indies in December 2013, but has since fallen foul of disciplinary problems.
Grayson does not believe Essex are taking a risk in signing Ryder to play in all formats until the end of the season.
"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 reckoning after he was released by Sussex last year.
Panesar left Sussex after an internal investigation following a police fine for urinating on nightclub bouncers in Brighton in August 2013.
Grayson has had no qualms about helping Panesar rehabilitate his career, and admitted he is ready to follow suit with Ryder.
"We'd like to help Jesse get back into the New Zealand fold, like we want any player to win international recognition," said 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.
Grayson hopes Ryder will be in place to make his debut in the LV=County Championship Division Two clash against Leicestershire at Chelmsford on May 4.
"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."
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Essex do not believe signing Jesse Ryder is a gamble