Clive Rice hailed as a 'cricketing genius'

The former Transvaal player passed away yesterday at the age of 66.

South Africa's Clive Rice leads his team back into international cricket, India v South Africa, first ODI, Calcutta, 10 November, 1991. Picture: www.espncricinfo.com

CAPE TOWN - Clive Rice's former team mate and now boss of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Dave Richardson says one thing he will remember is how as captain, Rice always backed the team.

The Johannesburg-born, former South African and Transvaal player passed away yesterday at the age of 66 in hospital.

Richardson was part of the South African team that Rice captained that went on their first tour of India after readmission to international cricket in 1991.

The ICC boss says Rice instilled confidence in the players.

"Although a great competitor, the one thing that he said to the selectors when he was the captain was, 'give me the team and when in the team, you're in for the series'. And once you knew that as player, playing under him just gave you the confidence."

He says Rice would have been a prolific player should he have played longer for South Africa.

"I mean his record in first class cricket is unbelievable really and it's quite sad that he only got to play three One Day Internationals. I'm sure he would have been a force to be reckoned with in international cricket."

Richardson says Rice was always heating things up on and off the field.

"You know he always liked to create some sort of pre-match controversy poignant comments, he raised the hype of matches. The rivalry that he created between the likes of Transvaal and Natal and Western Province in particular, he was one of the guys who kept cricket going in South Africa in those times of isolation."

MORE TRIBUTES: TWITTER REACTION:

Sad time for me this week... as I say goodbye to my dear friend Clive Rice. What are your memories of Clive? #CliveRice

Saddened to heard about the passing of Clive Rice. What a great loss to the sporting community and our country.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Rice family. Clive Rice will always be remembered as a fighter and champion. pic.twitter.com/KCVeWLbpJq

Kevin Pietersen @KP24 opens up about the passing of his mentor Clive Rice #RIPCliveRice pic.twitter.com/u8uRWgPRsm

GCB

Gauteng Cricket Board president Thabang Moroe acknowledged the contribution that Rice made to cricket in the province.

"Clive's career came at a challenging time in our country and the sport of cricket's history. One cannot help but tip your hat to some phenomenal performances. He represented our country and province well and above all else had a deep love for cricket."

With a first-class career that spanned almost 36-years, Rice formed part of the formidable Transvaal 'mean machine'.

Rice will be remembered as being one of the great all-rounders to have represented the province and country and in the nearly 1,000 first-class and List A matches that he played, he impressed with both bat and ball.

FSCU

Free State Cricket Union president Zola Thamae said the sad loss of Rice has been followed by messages of sympathy and condolence from right across the cricket spectrum.

"As a first in Protea Cricket he will be sadly be missed for the role he played in cricket but the legacy he has left behind will soldier on. Our condolences to his family and the cricket fraternity as a whole.

"Clive had a special place for the young Free State cricketers and assisted greatly in the careers of Free State international stars like Corrie van Zyl, Nicky Boje and Allan Donald."

WPCU

Western Cape Cricket Union described Rice as one of South Africa's finest all-rounders of the 1970s and 1980s.

Rice was a stalwart of Transvaal, Natal and Nottinghamshire, striking 26,331 first-class runs at an average of 40.95 and also captured 930 wicket at 22.49 apiece before his retirement in 1994.

"He was the captain of the all-conquering 'mean machine' of Transvaal and was a hard-hitting batsman and excellent seam bowler and a world-class all-rounder over almost two decades. Our sincere condolences go to his friends and family."

KZN

Dolphins CEO Pete de Wet said, "We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Clive Rice. He made such an incredible contribution to cricket in South Africa and we were privileged to have had Clive's influence in our own team here in KwaZulu-Natal.

"From everyone at KwaZulu-Natal Cricket we send our sincere condolences to his family."