New Zealand international Jesse Ryder has been placed in a medically induced coma after twice being assaulted during a night out with teammates in a Christchurch suburb on Wednesday.
Ryder and his Wellington colleagues had just suffered a defeat to Canterbury, but were out celebrating the end of their domestic season, when the attacks occurred, with the first incident taking place at about 12:30am.
The 28-year-old batsman was initially set upon outside the entrance of Aikman's Bar in Merivale, before he was the victim of a second assault just minutes later in the car park of a McDonald's, where Ryder's teammates had been buying food.
Ryder is in intensive care with a fractured skull, an injury he is thought to have sustained in the second of the two attacks.
"An altercation has taken place on the footpath outside Aikman's involving Jesse and a group of at least two other males. The altercation was brief," Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer told reporters.
"Following that incident, Ryder and two other persons walked across the road towards McDonald's, where his Wellington team-mates had been purchasing some food. A second altercation has taken place at the entrance to the McDonald's car park, involving one of the males from the earlier group.
"In that incident it appears Jesse has been the victim of a serious assault and has suffered head injuries as a result. Ambulance and police were called about at 12.44am. Jesse was taken to hospital where he remains in intensive care.
"The hospital advise that Jesse is in a critical condition, he is in an induced coma as a result of suffering multiple injuries. He is still being assessed for a number of injuries and we are not prepared to discuss that any further."
Ryder has played 18 Tests for New Zealand, scoring over 2000 runs at an average of 40.93, but is in a self imposed international exile having decided to take a break to resolve some issues after he was dropped last year.
The Wellington-born left-hander has been in fine form domestically, and was due to fly to India on Friday to begin his $300,000 contract with Indian Premier League side the Delhi Daredevils.