Jesse Ryder is "gutted" to have failed a drugs test, is taking responsibility for the failed test but says he did nearly everything he could to find out if a dietary supplement he'd started taking had any banned substances in it.
The 29-year-old, who's scored three hundreds in his 18 Tests, tested positive for 1-Phenylbutan-2-amine (PBA) and N, alpha-deithyl-benzeneethanamine (DEBEA) after his Wellington Firebirds team played the Northern Knights in a Ford Trophy match on March 24. Both substances are banned in competition.
"You know, pretty gutting to go through all this," he told ONE News' Abby Scott this afternoon.
"After doing research and finding out there's no banned substances in it, when you buy the product, you know, it's disappointing having to go through all this sort of stuff and knowing you failed a drug test."
He'd taken the supplement "just to control my weight really, through the season".
"It did fluctuate quite a bit through the season, wasn't training as much, probably not looking after myself quite as well."
He said his weight was an issue for him and had been an issue amongst New Zealand cricket fans and critics also.
"It's been a public issue quite a while about my weight, you know it's just something I'm always trying to sort out.
"I didn't really notice much of a difference at all (after taking the supplement), only used it a handful of times."
Asked why he didn't check with Drug Free Sport NZ before taking the supplement, Ryder said the blame was entirely his.
"Well that's the one cock-up that I didn't do.
"But from what we found ..you just think, knowing there's no banned substances in it, using their WADA app, which has all the banned substances on it and coming back with nothing, just didn't realise ..didn't even think about it."
Ryder coped a six-month drug ban for his oversight but it hasn't harmed his chances of a Black Caps recall.
Under the findings released today, Ryder's ban stretches from April 19 to October 19 meaning he will be able to return to the field before the start of next season after an alleged attack in Christchurch earlier this year left him fighting for his life.
"We're just looking forward to seeing Jesse back playing cricket after the tough year he's had," NZ Cricket CEO David White told ONE News.
"Today's findings will not disadvantage Jesse from selection for any future Black Caps squads."
At the hearing, Ryder's handlers said the cricketer used a poorly labelled weight-loss supplement and took the banned substance by mistake.
The 28-year-old had requested that his B sample be tested and this matter will be further progressed once the result of the B sample has been received.
Ryder was due to begin his contract with Otago Cricket on October 1, 19 days before the provisional six-month ban would end.
It is understood that Ryder was told of the failed test less than a week after leaving Christchurch Hospital, after suffering a number of injures following a brawl outside a nightspot in the city.
He's chosen not to play for New Zealand since the Napier ODI against South Africa in February of last year after he was disciplined by team management after breaking team protocol by being out drinking while carrying an injury.
In the interim he took a break away from cricket and entered the boxing ring to fight in a celebrity boxing fight last July.
Ryder becomes the most high profile New Zealand athlete to be banned from competition - a list which includes Olympic marathoner Liza Hunter Galvin (banned for two years for taking EPO), Davis Cup tennis player Mark Nielsen (banned for two years for taking the masking agent finasteride), and two-time Olympian swimmer Trent Bray, who successfully appealed against a positive test for nandrolone.
Of the three most high profile drug bans handed down by cricket authorities - to former Pakistan quicks Mohammad Asif and Shoaib Aktar and Australia great Shane Warne - Ryder's situation is closer to the latter case.
Asif and Aktar both tested positive for nandrolone and were banned for one and two years respectively before having their bans overturned.
Warne was out of the game for a year after testing positive for a diuretic which was an alleged masking agent.