New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder has left the Wellington Firebirds to join the Otago Volts for the upcoming domestic season. Peter Clinton, chief executive of Cricket Wellington, confirmed that Ryder had been granted his transfer request.

"We wanted him to stay in Wellington, as he's a world class player,'' Clinton said. ''But we respect his decision. He has decided he wants to move away and try it with Otago next season. We wish him all the best.''

Ryder, who was assaulted outside a bar in Christchurch on March 27, had been put into a medically induced coma after suffering a fractured skull and collapsed lung. He has been going about his rehabilitation since and, despite his injuries, Clinton insisted that Ryder's absence would be a big blow to Wellington.

''On his day, he's devastating as a batsman. He's got a lot of pulling power in terms of the way he plays the game and cult hero status. So he's a big loss to the team and we'll perhaps lose a bit of interest around the spectator base as well. But we're confident that this team is still very strong, even without Jesse in it.''

Clinton said that Ryder might have made the move because he wanted a "change of scene", and insisted that he had every chance of making it back into the New Zealand squad. "He's obviously still very keen and committed to play for New Zealand, and I certainly hope he gets there. He thinks his best chance is to give himself a new start this season."

Ryder started his first-class career with Central Districts but then moved to Wellington in 2004 during the tenure of the then coach Vaughn Johnson - with whom he will be reunited in Dunedin.

Ross Dykes, chief executive of Otago Cricket welcomed Ryder into the fold and was confident of providing all the help he needs for his recovery from the assault. "Well I think one of his prime motivations is to get back in the New Zealand side and we'll support that one hundred per cent."

"We've got a structure in place that hopefully looks after all our players and he'll fit nicely into that. I think it would be foolish to try and do anything special. I don't think its necessary." he said.