Wellington, March 28 (IANS) New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder lies in coma after being badly beaten up by a group of men near a bar in Christchurch early Thursday, police said.
“Four men” attacked Ryder as he left Aikman’s Bar in Merivale shortly after midnight (around 12.30 a.m. local) after having “a few drinks” with Wellington Firebirds teammates, The New Zealand Herald reported. The “brutal assault” has left Ryder in an induced coma with a fractured skull and multiple injuries.
The left-hand batsman, who has been involved in alcohol related incidents in the past, was due to leave for India to represent Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League beginning April 3.
An eyewitness described the attack on the cricketer as “sickening”.
“Just around 12.30 a.m., I look up and three or four guys were attacking Jesse,” Emma-Louise Ferguson was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
“There didn’t seem to be any argument or anything. They were just punching him, they had him on the ground and they were kicking him hard. It was unbelievably brutal. It was literally right outside the door of the bar,” she said.
“When he was on the ground, I couldn’t actually see him but I could hear the they were kicking him as hard as they could. I know about impact, I’ve seen fights and been in (charity boxing) fights and this was sickening. I can’t understand what could have caused them to attack him in such a way,” she added.
Aikman’s Bar has handed over the CCTV footage of the incident to the police, who are trying to find who the assailants were, the report said. The attackers ran away when emergency services were called.
Heath Mills of New Zealand Cricket Players Association wished Ryder a speedy recovery and said the assault was not “alcohol fuelled” even though the southpaw has had related problems in the past.
“We all know Jesse’s struggle with some demons,” said Mills.
Prime Minister John Key also wished Ryder a speedy recovery after an attack which he thought was “extremely vicious”.