Former South Africa skipper Clive Rice dies

JOHANNESBURG: Former all-rounder Clive Rice, the first post-apartheid captain of South Africa, died Tuesday aged 66, an official from the national cricket association said

Rice, who had been suffering from a brain tumour and was admitted to hospital last weekend with severe stomach pain, played most of his cricket during South Africa's 20-year isolation from the international game.

He was selected for a 1971-72 tour of Australia, which was cancelled because of opposition to the South African government's policy of apartheid.

When South Africa returned to the international fold in November 1991, Rice was appointed captain of a team which played three one-day internationals (ODIs) in India.

But he was controversially omitted from the South Africa team which played in the 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with the selectors placing an emphasis on youth.

Former South Africa stars paid tribute to Rice, who 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 an average of 22.49 before retiring in 1994.

Pat Symcox tweeted: "Devastated ... a great friend and wonderful man. Clive Rice has passed away. The world is a poorer place".

Peter Kirsten called him "one of the most formidable, gifted and competitive all-rounders that any age of the game has ever seen".

Herschelle Gibbs tweeted: "Sorry to hear about the passing of Clive Rice' 'Ricey' ... astute captain and a man that played the game hard."

In an era of notable all-rounders, including Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev and Richard Hadlee, Rice's exploits were limited to South African domestic cricket, the English county championship and Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket.

He excelled in them all.

Rice captained the Transvaal 'mean machine' which dominated South Africa's domestic competitions during the 1980s, led Nottinghamshire to their first county championship in 52 years and was one of the stars in the Packer matches.

Rice, who turned 66 five days ago, died in his native South Afica just over four months after receiving robotic radiation treatment in the Indian city of Bangalore, which he described in an interview in March as "miraculous".