Clive Rice

Clive Rice

Cape Town, July 28

South Africa’s first captain of the post-isolation era Clive Rice died on Tuesday after battling a brain tumour, the country’s cricket board said.

The 66-year-old had appeared to be in remission after visiting India earlier this year to receive robotic radiation treatment in Bangalore. Rice’s family confirmed his death to South Africa’s Eye Witness News, saying he was admitted to hospital on Sunday with severe stomach pains. The allrounder captained South Africa at the age of 42 on their historic post-isolation limited overs tour of India in 1991, but was left out of the squad for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.

He also briefly represented Scotland before the Proteas’ readmission to international cricket. “Clive was our first captain and we knew him to be a great fighter all his life,” Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat said in a media release. “Even during his last few years he put up a typically courageous and inspirational fight against the illness that had threatened him for a lengthy period of time.”

Rice played in 482 first-class matches for Transvaal, Natal and Nottinghamshire, scoring 26,331 runs at an average of 40.95. He also took 930 wickets at 22.49 apiece before retiring in 1994. “Devastating news on the death of Clive Rice. He was an inspiration to me as a young player and a fantastic example,” former Proteas opening batsman and coach Gary Kirsten tweeted.

Rice led Nottinghamshire to the County Championship titles in 1981 and 1987, and was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year after the first championship success. He returned to Trent Bridge as the newly appointed cricket manager in 1999, a position he held until 2003. It was during that time he was credited with helping persuade Kevin Pietersen to qualify to play international cricket for England.

Compatriot and International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson paid tribute to the allrounder. “Clive Rice was a giant of the game, not just in South Africa, but across the cricketing world,” Richardson said in a statement. “Though his international appearances for the Proteas were limited to just three ODIs, Clive was a hugely inspirational figure for those of us who had the privilege to represent our country,” he said.

“Clive was hugely regarded across the world game as a player, but later as a coach and mentor where he inspired the likes of Lance Klusener, Shaun Pollock and Jonty Rhodes, and he will be greatly missed by those who knew him,” he added.