Wellington: New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder departed for the temptations of the Indian Premier League (IPL) today.
Ryder will face a significant behavioral test when he joins the Bangalore Royal Challengers for the second edition of the transplanted Twenty20 competition.
The 24-year-old's off-field antics have only recently been eclipsed by his deeds in the middle, with a superb series against India earning Ryder acclaim for his undoubted talent with bat and ball, reports the NZPA.
He compiled his maiden one-day and test hundreds against India and then made a sublime 201 during the second test in Napier. He also had an uncanny knack of breaking partnerships with his medium pacers.
Ryder, whose disciplinary record leaves something to be desired, survived the summer relatively unscathed although he was suspended for the fourth one-day international against the West Indies at Auckland in January after missing a team meeting.
But his second season in the New Zealand team was an improvement on his debut against England in 2007-08, best remembered for his alcohol-fuelled altercation with a toilet door in Christchurch after the final one-dayer.
The resulting hand injury required surgery and denied Ryder a possible test debut at Lord''''s in England last May.
Since his sleep-in during the West Indies visit, Ryder has publicly been on his best behavior but the relaxed environment of the IPL represents a stern test of his self control.
The fact Ryder has been acquired by a franchise owned by Indian beer baron Dr Vijay Mallya may also be ominous.
Indian media covering the just completed tour said Mallya deliberately targeted the Ryder in the second IPL player auction.