Cricket South Africa (CSA) joined the entire cricket fraternity to pay tribute to the first captain of the Proteas, Clive Rice, who passed away yesterday morning after a long battle with cancer. “Clive was our first captain and we knew him to be a great fighter all his life,” said CSA chief executive, Haroon Lorgat.
“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.” Former Proteas players took to twitter to pay tribute to Rice who captained the Transvaal Mean Machine throughout their period of total provincial dominance, and although he never played a Test, he was respected as one of the great all-rounder’s of the game.
Pat Symcox, a former Proteas bowler took to social media to pay tribute to Rice saying that “a great friend and wonderful man… Clive Rice has passed away. The world is a poorer place…” “Sorry to hear about the passing of Clive Rice‚ ‘Ricey’… astute captain and a man that played the game hard!! RIP,” said batsman Herschelle Gibbs.
Former Proteas opening batsman and South African coach Gary Kirsten said “devastating news on the death of Clive Rice, He was an inspiration to me as a young player and a fantastic example. Rest in Peace Ricey!!!”
Golf legend Gary Player also extended his condolences to the Rice family saying that the cricketer was an inspiration to many. Rice aged 66, had recently travelled to India for further treatment on a brain tumor.
His battle with cancer saw him go to Bangalore for radiation treatment called CyberKnife and in recent times it looked like the treatment was a success. However, he lost the battle on Tuesday. Rice played only three One Day Internationals for South Africa against India in 1991; which marked into South African cricket’s return to the sporting world after being isolated because of apartheid.
Rice played 482 first class matches in South Africa and Nottinghamshire in English county cricket, scoring 26 331 runs and taking a massive 930 wickets between 1969 and 1994.