Brendon McCullum has said Jesse Ryder might need to re-earn respect within the New Zealand team and remove doubts about his commitment once he's ready to attempt a comeback to the national side. McCullum, however, said that Ryder's talent was "unquestionable" and that New Zealand Cricket only stood to benefit from his return.
In an interview with Radiosport, McCullum said he felt Ryder was in a "really good space" during their interactions while playing for different IPL franchises over the last two months.
Ryder has since avoided signing a central contract with New Zealand Cricket for 2012-13 and his manager Aaron Klee said that was because he did not feel ready for such a commitment. Klee reiterated that Ryder wanted to play for New Zealand and would not go down the Twenty20 freelance route.
"Who knows what the game's got installed for Jesse in the next 6-12 months ... he's got to do what makes him happy, get himself back to where he needs to be," McCullum said. "His talent his unquestionable but I guess his respect within the team needs to be continued to be re-earned.
"You want to know every time you go into battle the guy standing next to you is equally committed as you are, and I guess that's been questioned on a couple of occasions with Jess, and we now know there have been a few issues that he's had to deal with, and I'm talking out of school here because I've told him honestly what I think as well, and I'm sure he won't mind me commenting on it."
Ryder had taken an indefinite break from cricket in early March before deciding he would play the IPL, which began in early April, to work towards his comeback. The intention behind the break had been to resolve personal issues after a "deeply stressful and emotional time" following the incident that resulted in him being dropped during the home ODI series against South Africa this year.
After a defeat in the second match against South Africa, Ryder and Doug Bracewell went to a hotel and became involved in an argument with a patron, breaching team protocols in the process.
"Jess knows he's got to earn some of that respect back from some of the guys and I think that's quite right just like anyone has to gain respect when they come into the team," McCullum said. "He's got a tremendous amount of talent and everyone wants him back on the park. He's just got a couple of blemishes he's got to iron out. I'm sure if he can do that then New Zealand Cricket and Jesse are both going to benefit from it. Six months in this game is a long time so we'll see how it unfolds and we wish him all the best."
While Ryder was playing in the IPL, the NZC chief executive David White had said it was unlikely that he would be selected for New Zealand's tour of West Indies in July.