ESSEX coach Paul Grayson says overseas star Jesse Ryder is enjoying a new lease of life in England.

The Kiwi joined Essex at the end of last month and has already had a positive influence on and off the pitch, according to Grayson.

Ryder was often criticised in New Zealand for his party-boy antics, but is relishing playing for Essex, where he is eligible to play in all forms of the game.

“This is exactly what Jesse needs,” said Grayson, who has watched Ryder hit 45 runs off 30 balls in two t20 Blast innings so far this season.

“It is nice for him to be able to walk down Chelmsford High Street and not be recognised and he is enjoying that change.

“We have seen flashes of his brilliance and we know if he can stay at the crease he will score runs very quickly.”

Ryder has also chipped in with some surprise wickets, claiming two Glamorgan batsmen in four overs last Friday and two more in a County Championship game almost fortnight ago.

“It is a bonus,” admits Grayson. “With Ravi (Bopara) away with England it is great he has stepped up to help fill that void.

“Injuries to our fast bowlers have meant we are really struggling in that department. (Graham) Napier, (Tymal) Mills, (Sajid) Mahmood and (Reece) Topley are all out at the moment so if we can get any help in that department it is very welcome.

“Jesse is doing really well and is really appreciative of the opportunity he has been given.

Ryder will line up for Essex against Hampshire tonight, looking to help Essex Eagles to their third straight victory in this season’s competition.

“We know it is only a matter of time before he makes a really big score,” added Grayson.

“He is a really positive voice in the dressing room and everyone is thrilled to have him here this year.”