Cricket: New Zealand's Ryder banned over drug test

WELLINGTON - Troubled New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder has been banned for six months after testing positive to outlawed substances contained in a weight-loss supplement, the New Zealand Sports Tribunal said Tuesday.

The tribunal said Ryder, who has been in self-imposed exile from international cricket since February last year, tested positive after a domestic match in March this year.

The disciplinary body said it accepted the batsman's argument that he was not aware the over-the-counter supplement contained banned substances and he did not take it with the intention of enhancing his performance.

However, it said he did not check with authorities whether the product was legal even though it contained a warning saying it might contain substances banned by some organisations.

"The tribunal thought a penalty of six months suspension was also appropriate," it said, pointing out the maximum punishment available was two years.

The ban was backdated to April, meaning Ryder will be available to play again in October.

The 29-year-old, who has a history of disciplinary problems, is still recovering from an assault outside a bar in the South Island city of Christchurch in March, just after he returned the positive test.