After spending three days in an induced coma, New Zealand cricket star Jesse Ryder is up, telling his family, “Get me out of here.”
Ryder, 28, had been put in an induced coma after being attacked by two men in Christchurch during a night out with Wellington Firebirds teammates early last Thursday morning. He suffered injuries including a punctured lung and fractured skull
Two men, relatives aged 20 and 37, have been charged with assault for their role in the attack, which has been described by witnesses as unprovoked. The accused are scheduled to appear in Christchurch District Court on Thursday.
Yesterday fans were greeted by news that Ryder had thankfully awoken and had been moved out of intensive care. In the afternoon he made a public statement thanking the public for their support.
“I just want to let everyone know that I’m OK,” Ryder said in the statement. “I feel heaps better today but still really tired. I've been reading your messages that have been sent so thank you to everyone for thinking of me.”
"There's been tears all week but it was just great to be able to engage with him again,” said Ryder’s manager Aaron Klee, “We're all pretty exhausted. It's been a pretty difficult few days but having some wins over the last 24 hours has been a huge relief."
Ryder has no recollection of the attack, though he does recall the first-ball duck he scored in Wellington's loss to Canterbury just hours before. Ryder has played 18 test matches for New Zealand and 39 one-day internationals for the Black Caps and is regarded as a talented batsman and a competent bowler.
It was felt by many that he had the talent to be a very good international cricketer, although he has struggled with his fitness at times. Many believe that he should have played more times for the Black Caps, who recently drew a test series with England.
As soon as he was selected to play for the national team in 2008, former New Zealand wicketkeeper Adam Parore made it clear that Ryder should not have been picked because he was “too fat.”
Ryder’s career has not been free from controversy. He has been disciplined more than once for his behavior off the pitch, including struggles with alcohol, though the police stress that the Christchurch attack was not related to alcohol.