Jesse Ryder was attacked twice in quick succession, suffering serious head injuries in the second part of what a witness called a ‘Jesse hate fight’.
Ryder is now in a critical condition and in an induced coma in Christchurch Hospital. He has suffered multiple injuries that include a fractured skull.
Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer said the first altercation was outside Aikmans bar, in the Christchurch suburb of Merivale, and the second was outside the nearby McDonald’s fastfood restaurant. It was the second attack in which Ryder sustained his most serious injuries.
The first incident involved two or three people. Police believed two of them then followed Ryder to the McDonald’s carpark, where one of them attacked him a second time.
Police were still working to understand any motives for the attack.
CCTV footage is available and police are confident the attackers were caught on camera. But police are yet to publicly release photos or footage, suggesting they have suspects.
Police had found “nothing of significance” in the areas where the attacks took place.
Archer said most of Ryder’s team mates were in McDonald’s ordering food when he was attacked.
Ryder – who has had a well-publicised battle with alcohol – had been drinking. But alcohol was not an aggravating factor in the attack, which was witnessed by about 10 people, Archer said.
The attack happened when the Wellington cricket team was enjoying a night out in Christchurch after their season ended that day with a loss to Canterbury in the one-day competition.
New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association chief executive Heath Mills said Ryder had well-known issues with alcohol in the past, but this was believed to be separate to that.