- International cricket
Ryder in critical condition after assault
New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder is in a critical condition in hospital after being assaulted late on Wednesday evening in Christchurch.
Ryder, 28, is in intensive care after suffering a fractured skull in the attack - where he was reportedly beaten up by a group of four men as he enjoyed a drink with friends at a bar in Merivale.
"We are all shocked by what has occurred and extremely concerned for Jesse. New Zealand Cricket's thoughts are with him and his family," said NZC chief executive David White.
The all-rounder, who has played 18 Tests for New Zealand in his career but has recently been in a self-imposed exile from the Black Caps, had been due to join up with the Delhi Daredevils later this week, ahead of the latest Indian Premier League season.
A statement on the New Zealand Police website read: "Police are investigating an incident at a bar in Merivale in the early hours of this morning.
"Police can confirm the incident did involve Jesse Ryder and that he is currently in Christchurch Hospital."
A spokesperson for the hospital subsequently told local media that Ryder was in intensive care.
A post on New Zealand Cricket's official Twitter read: "Thoughts are with [Jesse] Ryder this morning."
New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor added: "Thinking of you mate [Jesse] Ryder."
Ryder's manager, Aaron Klee, wrote on his Twitter page: "Thanks for the calls and msgs of support for Jesse. Just heading to [Christchurch] to see him".
An eye-witness, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the attack appeared to be unprovoked - although the group of men were aware of who Ryder was.
"From what I could tell it looked pretty unprovoked," the eyewitness told stuff.co.nz. "Four dudes were just laying into him and absolutely smashing him on the ground.
"His shirt was ripped off and they were kicking him and punching him while he was down."