Jesse Ryder attack: NZ police arrest man

Jesse Ryder in March 2001 Jesse Ryder had been due to join the Indian Premier League

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New Zealand police say they have arrested and charged a man over the assault on cricketer Jesse Ryder outside a bar in Christchurch.

The 20-year-old suspect is due to appear in the Christchurch District Court on 4 April, officials said.

Police said they were also following a line of inquiry in relation to another person.

Ryder is in a medically induced coma after being attacked twice in quick succession as he left the bar.

He is believed to have suffered serious head injuries after the assaults and is now in intensive care.

At least 10 or more people are thought to have witnessed the incident, a police spokesman said earlier.

'Vicious'

Ryder has a history of disciplinary lapses and alcohol-related incidents. Although he had been drinking before the assault on Thursday morning, police said alcohol was not a factor.

The cricketer was in Christchurch playing for Wellington against Canterbury in the domestic one-day competition.

The 28-year-old had been due to fly to Delhi to start his $300,000 (£200,000) contract in the Indian Premier League.

He had chosen not to play for New Zealand since the Napier ODI against South Africa in February 2012 after he was disciplined by team management for being out drinking while carrying an injury.

Police believe two or three men attacked Ryder outside the bar, before following him to a car park and launching a second, more serious assault on the cricketer.

A witness told New Zealand's One News that she could hear the impact of the blows from inside the bar.

"As soon as the fight started there were probably four or five guys that ran out to pull them off him and hold them back while he stumbled off over the road," the witness said.

Ryder's friends and domestic and international cricketers have sent messages of support via social media.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said he was "extremely concerned" for Ryder.

Meanwhile, the head of the country's Cricket Players' Association, Heath Mills, has flown to Christchurch to be with Ryder.

"The cricket community's very shocked at what's happened to Jesse. It's a sad day for us," he said.

The attack has also been condemned by Prime Minister John Key, who expressed his shock over the "sinister" and "vicious" incident.

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