Jesse Ryder's team-mates have been told the cricketer has not suffered brain damage following an attack that has left him in a coma in Christchurch Hospital.
Seven Sharp reporter Craig Stanaway said he has spoken to sources close to the Wellington Firebirds and that "the players have been told Jesse doesn't have any brain damage".
"That is important because they didn't want to get on the flight this morning, they wanted to be with their player and their mate, but they have come home reassured by that news," he told Seven Sharp.
Police believe Ryder was attacked twice outside a bar in Papanui Road last night, in an incident that has left him in a critical condition with a fractured skull and a collapsed lung.
Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer said Ryder had been in Aikman's Bar in Merivale with his teammates before the incident.
When Ryder left, Archer said two or three men set upon him outside. Emma Ferguson was at the bar at the time and told ONE News she could hear the impact of the blows from inside.
"I was shocked to see him get up," she said. "Initially he got up and stumbled across the road and when he stood up after the attack I was shocked to see him on his feet.
"As soon as the fight had started up there were probably another for or five guys that ran out to pull them off him and hold them back while he stumbled off over the road."
Ryder was attacked again by one of the men after he moved across the road to the entrance of McDonald's.
During one of these attacks, Archer said, Ryder suffered serious head injuries and the emergency services were called. No weapon is believed to have been used.
Archer could not say whether the attack had been provoked.
"I don't know the background to what caused this incident and that's what we're focussing on now to understand why this took place," he told a press conference this afternoon.
No-one has yet been arrested for the assault but police have CCTV footage and Archer said there are about 10 witnesses who they have been speaking to.
Ryder has had well documented problems with alcohol in the past, and the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association, Heath Mills, said he was aware of recent incidents where Ryder had been drinking.
"We've had a support programme with New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Wellington around Jesse in the last wee while and some very well qualified medical people have been supporting him," he said.
"He has drunk alcohol in the last three or four weeks at one or two events. We became aware of that and we've tried to reinvigorate that support network around him."
Police have said the attack was not alcohol related and Peter Clinton from Cricket Wellington said the players were not breaking any team rules last night.
"There are some alcohol protocols around the team and my understanding of the events is those protocols were being met. So from the organisation's point of view we don't have any concerns that Jesse was with his team mates last night."
Ryder 'stood no chance'
An eyewitness has told ONE News that Ryder "stood no chance" in the confrontation.
She said she was sitting outside the bar when she saw a fight break out behind her. Ryder was punched to the ground and kicked while on the ground for about 10 seconds.
Her group and some of Ryder's friends went in to break it up and Ryder got to his feet, she said. He managed to get up and made it across the road before collapsing.
His friends put him in the recovery position, the eyewitness said, and an ambulance arrived shortly afterwards. A second ambulance then arrived.
She described seeing lots of blood and said the shirt had been ripped off Ryder's back.
She said it was a quiet night at the bar with no more than 20 people there and no need for security. Ryder had been drinking at the bar with a group of friends though it could not be confirmed if he was drinking alcohol.
Owner of the bar Steve Holmes has reviewed CCTV vision this morning and he told Seven Sharp that Ryder had been in the bar with friends. When he went to leave he was called back by someone in the bar.
Ryder went back to talk to him and while it started out as a friendly encounter it later became more heated. Ryder walked away and two men chased after him and attacked him outside the bar, he said.
The bar's night manager and two other men pulled the attackers off Ryder who then staggered across the road. Holmes could not say what happened after that.
He earlier told ONE News: "I wasn't here so I don't know all the details but at the end of the day we are working with the authorities so we can find out exactly what happened and the business wishes Jesse all the best."
Messages of Support
Prime Minister John Key said the attack seemed sinister while visiting a local school near to the scene this afternoon.
He said the attack seems extremely vicious and he is sure police
will be working to get to the bottom of it.
There is already support for the former Black Cap on social media.
"Thinking of you mate @DijaRyder," former captain and good friend Ross Taylor wrote on Twitter.
New Zealand Cricket CEO David White has also stated his shock and concern of the alleged bashing.
"We are all shocked by what has occurred and extremely concerned for Jesse. New Zealand Cricket's thoughts are with him and his family," White said.
White, Peter Clinton from Cricket Wellington, Heath Mills from the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association and Jesse's manager Aaron Klee are currently flying to Christchurch to assist in any way they can.
It is likely they will hold a media conference in Christchurch this afternoon once they have ascertained the facts surrounding Ryder's injuries and his current condition.
The destructive batsman was playing for Wellington yesterday in the Ford Trophy preliminary final against Canterbury in Christchurch.
The 28-year-old, who was bowled for a first ball duck as his side went down by 61-runs yesterday, has been in scintillating form for the Wellington Firebirds for much of the season.
But Ryder has chosen not to play for New Zealand since the Napier ODI against South Africa in February of last year after he was disciplined by team management after breaking team protocol by being out drinking while carrying an injury.
Since then he has entered the boxing ring to fight in a celebrity boxing fight and reportedly sworn off alcohol.
It is unclear if he remains abstained but alcohol induced incidents have repeatedly marred the career of the talented cricketer.
In his most infamous incident, he had to pull out of the Test series against England in 2008 after cutting his hand on a window at a Christchurch nightclub while celebrating his team's one-day series win.
Ryder was due to fly out tomorrow to start his $300,000 contract in the Indian Premier League with the Delhi Daredevils.
An aggressive batsmen with a superb eye and delicate touch,
Ryder has made 1,269 runs in 18 Tests at an average of 40.93 with a
highest score of 201 and 1,100 runs in 39 one-day internationals at
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