New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder has told well-wishers "I'm okay" three days after suffering severe head injuries in a fight outside a Christchurch bar.
Ryder was moved on Sunday from the intensive care ward of Christchurch Hospital to a regular ward as he recovers from a fractured skull and punctured lung. On Saturday the 28-year-old was brought out of an induced coma and removed from a respirator.
In a statement Sunday, Ryder said "I just want to let everyone know that I'm OK.
"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 over the last few days."
Ryder's manager Aaron Klee said the cricketer had been drowsy but in good spirits since emerging from the coma. Among his first words after regaining consciousness was a joking statement to family members: "get me out of here."
Klee said Ryder had not yet been interviewed by police and had no memory of being assaulted outside a bar in the Christchurch suburb of Merivale about 12.30am on Thursday morning. Ryder had been socializing with members of his Wellington provincial team which had played a semifinal of New Zealand's domestic one-day competition in Christchurch on Wednesday.
His last memory was of making a first-ball duck during that match.
Police have arrested two men, one aged 20 and the other 37, and charged them with assault over the incident. They were due to appear in the Christchurch District Court on Thursday.
Klee said it was uncertain how long Ryder would remain in hospital. He said medical staff were "assessing what sort of damage may have been done but at the moment it very much looks like a very bad concussion.
"He's got a bit of damage to his lungs and that's been the toughest part and that's what they've been most concerned about."
Ryder was due to leave New Zealand on Saturday to take up a contract with the Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League. Klee said it was too early to consider whether Ryder would play cricket again.