Health Minister David Cunliffe has sacked the New Zealand Cricket Board after maligned Blackcap Jesse Ryder (pictured) was yesterday given the nod to re-join the Blackcaps in May’s tour of England.

The shock announcement comes after last month’s alcohol-related incident, where Napier-schooled Ryder needed surgery to a finger after putting his hand through a window at a Christchurch bar.

In a statement released today the Ministry said Cricket New Zealand’s decision to extend a lifeline to Ryder had sent all the wrong messages. “They were effectively saying ‘it’s okay to get plastered if you’re a superstar.’ ”

The report also described Ryder’s antics as “symptomatic of a binge-drinking culture in New Zealand sport. It was clear we [the Ministry] had a mandate and imperative to act swiftly.” 

Mr Cunliffe today announced the appointment of an interim cricket board, a panel of personalities described as “iconic” sporting role models – “people that will take the board to the next level.”

The six new interim board members are confirmed as ex-All Blacks Keith Murdoch and Norm Hewitt, Kiwi league legend Brent Todd, former Australian cricketer David Boon, England cricket all-rounder Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, and American golfer John Daly who will act as interim board chairman.


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