Cape Town - Cricket South Africa (CSA) has heard with shock and sadness of the passing of Chris Wilkins on Monday at the age of 74.
A farmer, in the Harding district of KZN, Wilkins had reportedly been in deteriorating health for some time.
An aggressive opening batsman, who was also an all-rounder of note, he represented Border, Eastern Province and Natal and also had a stint with Derbyshire in the county championship, scoring almost 11 000 first-class runs (18 centuries) and taking 142 wickets.
In addition to his batting prowess he bowled prodigious away swingers at a lively pace and was extremely competent in the field, either as wicketkeeper or slip catcher.
It was, however, as a limited overs cricket that he made his biggest impact during his time with Eastern Province when his ability to fearlessly hit the fastest of bowlers over mid-on and mid-off that made him a feared competitor.
In many ways he could be described as the original pinch hitter.
He would have been a certain selection for any South African limited overs team during the 1970s.
In first-class cricket he formed a formidable opening partnership for Eastern Province with Simon Bezuidenhout and on one occasion they managed to score the first batting bonus point before the lunch interval. This amounted to their putting at least 175 runs on the board.
"On behalf of the CSA Family I extend our deepest condolences to his family, his friends and his many cricketing colleagues," commented CSA Chief Executive Thabang Moroe.