CRICKET SOUTH AFRICA (CSA) heard with great sadness of the passing in hospital today of Clive Rice, its first ever captain, five days after his 66th birthday after a long battle with illness.
“Clive was our first captain and we knew him to be a great fighter all his life. 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,” commented CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat. “Clive will always be remembered for captaining the Proteas on our historic first tour to India in 1991 and, as one of the great all-rounders and captains of the game, it was fitting that he got the chance to play international cricket even though he was at an age when most players might have called time on their careers.”
After his retirement from the game Rice became the first director of CSA’s National Academy before he travelled overseas to become director of cricket for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club where he previously had a stellar career as a player. As their captain he led them to the county championship in 1981 for the first time since 1929 and formed an internationally respected new ball partnership with Sir Richard Hadlee of New Zealand.
Like many of the best South African players of his era he was limited to a career of South African and England domestic cricket although he also achieved success in an international all-rounder’s competition in Hong Kong against some of the best in the world.
As captain of Transvaal’s ‘Mean Machine’ as it became known he swept the board of all the major trophies available during the 1980s before he finished his career with Natal. During his career he made more than 39 000 runs in first-class and limited overs cricket and took more than 1 500 wickets.
Sadly, his best playing days coincided almost identically with South Africa’s isolation from international cricket. He was selected for the cancelled tour to Australia in 1971-72 at the age of 22 and was 42 when he led his country to India on the ‘Friendship Tour”.
“On behalf of the CSA Family I extend our deepest condolences to his wife, his son and his daughter, all the rest of his family, his friends and his many cricketing colleagues around the world”, said Mr. Lorgat.
CSA flew the flag at its offices in Johannesburg today at half-mast in tribute to Rice. As a mark of respect the Proteas will wear black armbands in the Test match against Bangladesh starting on Thursday.