South Africa’s first cricket captain, post isolation, Clive Rice, 66, sadly passed away in hospital on Tuesday morning after suffering from a brain tumour for several years. Rice was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September 1998 and sought treatment in Germany and more recently in Bangalore, India, the country in which be christened his belated and all too short international career.
Sadly his talents were never truly realized on the international stage as his career coincided with South Africa’s isolation and he eventually only played these three one dayers that were recognized internationals. Clive began his career in the then Transvaal in the late sixties and was selected in the South African team in the never to be played, tour of Australia in 1971 -1972 and thus had to wait some twenty years before he could wear the green and gold.
His first class career saw him represent Transvaal and eventually captain the side that that in the eighties became known as the “Mean Machine” and winners of three Currie Cups. He also became a regular for Nottinghamshire and played alongside cricketing great, Sir Richard Hadlee. Rice eventually captained Nottinghamshire and as captain led them to victory as County Champions in both 1981 and 1987 and one of the five in 1981 who were awarded the coveted Wisden Cricketers of The Year in 1981. The others awarded this prestigious award were Kim Hughes (Aus), Robin Jackman (Eng), Alan Lamb (a South African player who represented England) and our very own Vince van der Bijl.
Although unable to play in official international cricket, Clive did have an illustrious career in the ‘rebel’ World Series where other South African greats, Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Mike Procter and others played against and proved their greatness against the world’s best.
Clive unfortunately never got to play in the 1993 World Cup and finished his career captaining Natal.
In his first class career he played in 482 matches and scored 26431 runs with a highest score of .246 and took 930 wickets at an average of 22.49 with a bowling best of seven for 62. A great player, captain, gentleman, a natural leader of men. Rest in Peace Clive Edward Butler Rice.