‘Mean Machine’ heeds the ‘Great Umpire’s’ call

2015-07-30 06:00
A giant of the game - Clive Rice.
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A giant of the game - Clive Rice. ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????PHOTO: NELIUS RADEMAN

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CLIVE Rice, the man who led South Africa from isolation back into international cricket in November 1991, died at the age of 66 ­yesterday from a cancer-related brain tumour.

International Cricket Council chief ­executive Dave Richardson was among those who paid tribute to the great all-rounder.

“Clive Rice was a giant of the game, not just in South Africa, but across the cricketing world,” Richardson said in a statement.

“Though his international appearances for the Proteas were limited to just three ODIs, Clive was a hugely inspirational figure for those of us who had the privilege to represent our country.

When South Africa was ­re-admitted to international cricket in 1991, it was fitting that Clive was named as captain,” Richardson said.

Rice is best remembered for his exploits with Transvaal and Nottinghamshire, but also turned out for Natal in the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons. Dolphins’ CEO Pete van Wyk said, “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Clive Rice. He was an immense cricketer, not only for the Proteas, but for us and for Gauteng Cricket, and it is terribly sad news to hear that he has passed on.”

Rice served as captain of Transvaal’s “Mean Machine”, the outstanding provincial team in South Africa in the late 1970s and the 1980s, and led the side to seven Currie Cup titles. That team included, among others, Graeme Pollock, Jimmy Cook, Henry Fotheringham, Ray Jennings, Kevin McKenzie, Sylvester Clarke, Alan Kourie, Brian McMillan, and ­Rupert Hanley.

“He was a really tough character on the field. He didn’t give an inch, but off the field he was an absolutely fantastic guy, one of the boys, a good family man, and a fantastic friend,” Jimmy Cook recalled.

“Those were wonderful times, and Clive was the leader of the pack, but he was certainly one of the guys. He was never aloof or ­anything like that. He was one of the boys.”

As captain of a Nottinghamshire side who included legendary New Zealand all-rounder, Richard Hadlee, he led the team to the County Championship title in 1981 and 1987, and was named one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1981.

During his career, Rice scored 26 331 first class runs at an average of 40,95, at a time when the game was fairer towards bowlers.

With the ball, he captured 930 wickets at a miserly 22,49 runs per wicket

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