During his playing days, often Clive Rice contributed with both bat and ball © Getty Images
During his playing days, often Clive Rice contributed with both bat and ball © Getty Images

Legendary South African cricketer Clive Rice passed away on July 28, 2015 — just 5 days after his 66th birthday — losing his battle against malignant brain tumour. Bharath Seervi presents statistical notes on him which proves his reputation as the greatest cricketer from South Africa.

Clive Rice’s international career has nothing to speak about. South Africa were banned from international cricket for two decades due to the Apartheid rule, which tragically coincided with a major part of his career. The ban was put into effect right before he could  He was however, no less than some of the great players of the 1970s and 1980s. He made his First-Class debut in 1969-70, and continued playing in the format for the next two decades before finally getting the opportunity play for his country in 1991, when South Africa were invited for their historic tour of India to mark the end of their international boycott. He could not play Tests, but led South Africa in their first ever One-Day International (ODI). ALSO READ: Clive Rice passes away

Rice made his ODI debut in 1991-92 on their return, captaining the side at an age of 42. The three ODIs in that series were the only matches he played for South Africa. But by that time he was already established as a great all-rounder and captain with excellent records in First-Class and List A levels.

Let us see where he stands amongst the cricketers from South Africa and all-rounders of the Cricket world.

Most First-Class matches by South Africans

Rice was the first South African to appear in 400 First-Class cricket matches. He played his 400th match in 1986 for Nottinghamshire against Yorkshire. Two more South Africans played 400 matches after him — Mike Procter and Ken McEwan — but they retired before Rice. Clive Rice went on to play 482 (the most by any South African) matches till his retirement in 1993-94. The table below lists five most experienced First-Class cricketers from South Africa. ALSO READ: How the world reacted to Clive Rice’s death

Player Matches Span
Clive Rice 482 1969-70-1993-94
Ken McEwan 428 1972-73-1991-92
Mike Procter 401 1965-1988-89
Rodney Ontong 367 1972-73-1994-95
Barry Richards 339 1964-65-1982-83

Most List A matches by South Africans

Rice played almost an equal number of List A matches as well. He was the first South African to play 400 List A matches as well. His 400th appearance was in a Benson & Hedges Cup 1988 for Scotland against Derbyshire.  After him, four South Africans got to the milestone of 400 List A matches — but Rice’s 479 stands the record.

Player Matches Span
Clive Rice 479 1970-71-1993-94
Allan Donald 458 1985-86-2003-04
Shaun Pollock 435 1992-93-2008
Jacques Kallis 424 1994-95-2014
Ken McEwan 409 1972-73-1991-92

Hence, Rice is the most experienced First-Class and List A cricketer from South Africa. He and McEwan are the only common players in the above two tables.

Rice had similar record in both formats with both bat and ball. His batting average was 40.95 in First-Class cricket and 37.32 in List A, while his bowling average was 22.49 in First-Class cricket and 22.64 in List A. He scored 26,331 First-Class and 13,474 List A runs, and claimed 930 First-Class and 517 List A wickets. ALSO READ: Sachin Tendulkar pays tribute to Clive Rice

Most First-Class cricket runs by South Africans

Only two South Africans scored more runs than Rice — Barry Richards and McEwan.

Batsman M I NO R Ave 100s 50s Best
Barry Richards 339 576 58 28358 54.74 80 152 356
Ken McEwan 428 705 67 26628 41.73 74 122 218
Clive Rice 482 766 123 26331 40.95 48 137 246
Kepler Wessels 316 539 50 24738 50.58 66 132 254
Peter Kirsten 327 568 59 22635 44.46 57 107 271

Most First-Class wickets by South Africans

Rice is amongst the top wicket-takers from South Africa as well. Only three bowlers took more First-Class wickets than him — Procter, Allan Donald and Charlie Llewellyn. They all three took over 1000 wickets.

Bowler M W BBI Ave 5WIs 10WMs
Mike Procter 401 1417 9/71 19.53 70 15
Allan Donald 316 1216 8/37 22.76 68 9
Charlie Llewellyn 267 1013 9/55 23.41 82 20
Clive Rice 482 930 7/62 22.49 23 1
Hugh Tayfield 187 864 9/113 25.91 14 2

Rice is the only common player in the above two tables.

South Africans with 10,000 runs and 500 wickets in First-Class cricket

There is a reason behind the notion that South Africa has produced more quality all-rounders than any other country. There are eight South Africans with more than 10,000 runs and 500 wickets in First-Class cricket. Rice has a difference of 18.46 in his batting and bowling average — the second-best among the eight. AlSO READ: South Africa wear black armbands on Day 1 of 2nd Test vs Bangladesh

Player M R Bat Ave W Bowl Ave Bat Ave – Bowl Ave
Trevor Goddard 179 11289 40.60 534 21.65 18.95
Clive Rice 482 26331 40.95 930 22.49 18.46
Mike Procter 401 21926 36.00 1417 19.53 16.47
Eddie Barlow 283 18212 39.16 571 24.14 15.02
Andrew Hall 242 11072 35.26 639 27.88 7.38
Charlie Llewellyn 267 11425 26.75 1013 23.41 3.34
Sidney Martin 267 11511 27.02 532 28.31 -1.29
Rodney Ontong 367 15234 29.46 845 31.34 -1.88

Rice’s batting average is the highest and bowling average is third- best among players in the table above.

Rice, Procter and Rodney Ontong are the only South Africans with 15,000 runs and 750 wickets in First-Class cricket.

Highest difference in batting and bowling average of players with 25000 runs and 750 wickets in First-Class cricket

Comparing his career figures with other all-rounders who scored more than 25,000 runs and took over 750 wickets in First-Class cricket, Rice stands amongst the very best. His difference in batting (40.95) and bowling (22.49) averages is a whopping 18.46. Only three players in the history of First-Class cricket have better average difference than Rice — Garry Sobers, WG Grace and Frank Woolley. That is a great set of all-rounders to be with.

Player M R Bat Ave W Bowl Ave Av Diff
Garry Sobers 383 28314 54.87 1043 27.74 27.13
WG Grace 870 54211 39.45 2809 18.14 21.31
Frank Woolley 978 58959 40.77 2066 19.87 20.90
Clive Rice 482 26331 40.95 930 22.49 18.46
Mushtaq Mohammad 502 31091 42.07 936 24.34 17.73

In all, 16 players have completed the double of 25000 runs and 750 wickets in First-Class cricket.

Most runs in List A cricket by South Africans

With 13,474 runs Rice is one of the top run getters among South Africans in List A cricket as well. Jacques Kallis is the only South African who has scored more runs in List A cricket than Rice.

Batsman M I NO R Ave 100s 50s HS 
Jacques Kallis 424 406 65 14845 43.53 23 109 155*
Clive Rice 479 444 83 13474 37.32 11 79 169
Kepler Wessels 337 331 30 12503 41.53 15 90 146
Herschelle Gibbs 388 370 32 11976 35.43 27 62 175
Ken McEwan 409 396 42 11866 33.51 16 69 162*

Most wickets in List A cricket by South Africans

Rice was the first South African to 400 and 500 List A wickets for South Africa. His 517 wickets in List A career have been surpassed by only two South Africans — Donald and Shaun Pollock — both legends of the sport.

Player M W BBI Ave 4WIs 5WIs
Allan Donald 458 684 6/15 21.84 27 11
Shaun Pollock 435 573 6/21 22.93 18 7
Clive Rice 479 517 6/18 22.64 19 6
Makhaya Ntini 275 388 6/22 25.28 9 6
Andrew Hall 318 365 5/18 27.59 11 2

Rice had a slightly better bowling average than Pollock’s.

Players with 10,000 runs and 500 wickets in List A Cricket

In List A cricket only four players have completed the double of 10,000 runs and 500 wickets. Rice is one of them. The others are Imran Khan, Ian Botham and Shahid Afridi. Rice has the best difference between batting and bowling average among the four. ALSO READ: Clive Rice one of the greatest cricketers to never have played Test cricket

Player M R Bat Ave W Bowl Ave Bat Ave – Bowl Ave
Clive Rice 479 13474 37.32 517 22.64 14.68
Imran Khan 425 10100 33.22 509 22.22 11.00
Ian Botham 470 10474 29.50 612 24.94 4.56
Shahid Afridi 499 10869 25.04 509 33.73 -8.69

Clive Rice as captain

Rice captained in 263 of the 482 First-Class cricket matches he played. In List A matches, he captained in 322 out of 479 he played in his career.

Rice finds his name among highest run-getters, highest wicket-takers and best all-rounders in both the formats. He is an absolute legend of a cricketer South Africa ever produced.

Rest in peace, Sir.

(Bharath Seervi is a cricket statistician who is obsessed with digging numbers, facts and records related to the game. An active member of Society of Cricket Statisticians of India, he blogs at www.cricketseervistats.blogspot.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SeerviBharath and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeerviCricket)