Jesse Ryder assault: Accused men bailed by NZ court

Jesse Ryder celebrates after scoring a century fro New Zealand in April 2009
Image caption Jesse Ryder stopped playing international cricket for New Zealand in February last year

Two men charged with assaulting New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder have been bailed to reappear in a Christchurch court in two weeks.

The lawyer for one of the pair told the bail hearing that the injuries sustained by the cricketer were not as serious as previously reported.

Reports last week said that he had been put into a coma and had a fractured skull and internal injuries.

Mr Ryder, 28, has told police he has no recollection of the attack.

He is now out of a medically-induced coma and out of intensive care. But he has been unable to help police with their investigations.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Eaton told the bail hearing on Thursday that Mr Ryder was only punched once after initially sharing "a friendly drink" with the two accused men.

Mr Eaton said that witness accounts describing the cricketer as being repeatedly punched and kicked were "wildly inaccurate" and that he had not in fact suffered a fractured skull.

The two accused men, a 37-year-old and his 20-year-old nephew, cannot be named for legal reasons.

A powerful left-handed batsman, Ryder's test batting average of 40.93 would ordinarily have seen him as a valuable asset to a New Zealand team that can ill-afford to be without a player of his natural ability, analysts say.

But his off-field behaviour - including drinking bouts and disciplinary problems - has limited him to only 18 Test caps since making his debut against Bangladesh in 2008.

Mr Ryder was in Christchurch with team-mates after playing for Wellington Firebirds in a domestic one-day competition. He had been due to fly to Delhi to begin a $300,000 (£200,000) contract in the Indian Premier League.

He stopped playing international cricket for New Zealand in February last year.

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