Like most cricket reporters, fans and probably players, last night was largely spent reading through tweets, reports and anything else relevant as details emerged of the sickening attack on Jesse Ryder in Christchurch.
Writing such reports are never easy, particularly when you are researching things like induced comas, for example, and details continue to emerge, but it’s part of the job, and we all hope he pulls through. Whether he plays cricket or not again quickly became irrelevant as the extent of his injuries became apparent.
Hard facts are often elusive but must be sought out and stuck to. The immediate aftermath of an attack is not the time to detail each and every previous misdemeanour that the player has gone through.
As it turns out, yes, he was drinking, yes, New Zealand Cricket were aware of it, but alcohol does not appear to have been a contributing factor to the attack. It appears to be a case of him being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. That can, sadly, happen to anyone.
The timing is horrible – one day after Wellington finished their domestic season, and one day before he was due to head out to India to start the IPL with Delhi Daredevils.
For anybody who might think that the lot of a cricket journalist is to sit back, watch cricket all day, and hammer out a few words whenever you please, this is the side of the job you don’t see.
600 words for a match report: easy. 300 words on a developing story about somebody being assaulted, or worse, dying (Bob Woolmer, David Hookes come to mind): much, much harder. Nobody is really going to mind if you get somebody’s score wrong. When the story is more serious, mistakes are unforgivable.
For now, though, get well soon Jesse. Nobody deserves what he went through last night.