Former Ireland cricketer in intensive care after attack

New Zealand cricket shocked by attack on Jesse Ryder (28) outside bar in Christchurch

New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder was today in an induced coma after being the victim of a serious assault, police said. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire

New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder was today in an induced coma after being the victim of a serious assault, police said. Photograph: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire

Thu, Mar 28, 2013, 12:12

New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder is in hospital with serious head injuries after being involved in a fight in Christchurch.

A Christchurch Hospital spokesperson told local media that Ryder was in intensive care with a fractured skull.

Calls to the hospital were not immediately returned. New Zealand Police said they were investigating an incident at a bar in Merivale, a suburb of Christchurch, early this morning and that Ryder had been involved.

Ryder, had left the bar with a group of people when he became involved in the incident, police said in a statement. Police were called at 12:44 a.m. local time and Ryder was rushed to hospital by ambulance.

"We are piecing together what took place and speaking to witnesses to understand how this incident unfolded," detective senior sergeant Brian Archer said in the statement.

"I would ask anyone who witnessed the incident or were part of the group involved with Mr Ryder to contact police."

Ryder was an overseas player for Ireland in the summer of 2007 when he featured in the Friends Provident Trophy. “All our thoughts with former Ireland overseas player Jesse Ryder who is in Intensive Care in New Zealand,” Cricket Ireland tweeted this morning.

The 28-year-old was in Christchurch playing for Wellington against Canterbury in the semi-final of New Zealand's domestic one-day competition on Wednesday.

An eye-witness told New Zealand's Fairfax Media that the cricketer had been punched and kicked by at least four men.

"We are all shocked by what has occurred and extremely concerned for Jesse," New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said in a statement. "New Zealand Cricket's thoughts are with him and his family."

Ryder's manager Aaron Klee, Cricket Wellington chief executive Peter Clinton and New Zealand Cricket Players' Association head Heath Mills were all travelling to Christchurch, NZC said.

Ryder, one of the most gifted batsmen in New Zealand, has been in a self-imposed exile from international cricket after a series of alcohol-related incidents.

In 2008, he needed stitches in his hand after he punched a window in a Christchurch bar, an injury that kept him out of the game for several months.

He has also been in trouble several times for other incidents, one of which involved him turning up to training still affected after a heavy drinking session. Ryder was reprimanded by NZC last year after he and fellow New Zealand international Doug Bracewell were involved in a verbal altercation with bar patrons in Napier.

Both had missed a match while injured and breached team protocols about abstaining from alcohol.

Ryder has voluntarily stood down from international selection since as he sought to address his issues with alcohol. He had been expected to travel to India for the lucrative Twenty20 tournament with the Pune Warriors on Friday, but was not expected to return to international cricket on New Zealand's tour of England in May-June.

An aggressive batsmen with a superb eye and delicate touch, Ryder has made 1,269 runs in 18 tests at an average of 40.93 with a highest score of 201 and 1,100 runs in 39 one-day internationals at 34.37.