Controversial New Zealand all-rounder Jesse Ryder is in intensive care after suffering a fractured skull in an attack which began in a bar and carried on outside a fast-food outlet.
Ryder, who last played for his country in February last year, was said to have been set upon by four men while in a bar with his provincial team-mates in Christchurch.
An eye-witness in Aikman’s Bar in the suburb of Merivale, who would only identify himself as Adam, said the attack on Ryder “looked unprovoked” and that four men “absolutely smashed him”.
A police statement read: “Police are investigating an incident at a bar in Merivale in the early hours of this morning. Police can confirm the incident involved Jesse Ryder and that he is in Christchurch Hospital.”
Ryder was in the city having played for Wellington against Christchurch in the major preliminary final of the provincial one-day competition.
Ryder has been involved in several drink-fuelled incidents in the past, but is not known to have been drinking last night. He has been in self-imposed exile from the international side in a bid to get his personal life in order.
He was due to fly to India today to start his £165,000 Premier League contract with the Delhi Daredevils.
His former international captain Ross Taylor tweeted: “Thinking of you mate.” Former England captain Michael Vaughan posted: “Devastating news regarding Jesse Ryder... Just hope he can pull through... Thoughts are with him and his family.”