England batting superstar Kevin Pietersen took to social media to remember former South Africa captain, Clive Rice, who passed away on Tuesday morning. Rice was influential in encouraging Pietersen to leave South Africa and play for England. Rice, who had been suffering from a brain tumour and was admitted to hospital last weekend with severe stomach pain, played most of his cricket during South Africa’s 20-year isolation from the international game. He was selected for a 1971-72 tour of Australia, which was cancelled because of opposition to the South African government’s policy of apartheid. When South Africa returned to the international fold in November 1991, Rice was appointed captain of a team which played three one-day internationals (ODIs) in India. But he was controversially omitted from the South Africa team which played in the 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with the selectors placing an emphasis on youth. Clive Rice: An all-rounder in the league of Garry Sobers, Imran Khan and Ian Botham

Former South Africa stars paid tribute to Rice, who played in 482 first-class matches for Transvaal, Natal and Nottinghamshire, scoring 26,331 runs at an average of 40.95. He also took 930 wickets at an average of 22.49 before retiring in 1994. READ: Clive Rice mastered cricket, but could not conquer time

Pat Symcox tweeted: “Devastated … a great friend and wonderful man. Clive Rice has passed away. The world is a poorer place”. Clive Rice: How he compared against Imran Khan, Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, and Richard Hadlee

Peter Kirsten called him “one of the most formidable, gifted and competitive all-rounders that any age of the game has ever seen”.

Herschelle Gibbs tweeted: “Sorry to hear about the passing of Clive Rice‚ ‘Ricey’ … astute captain and a man that played the game hard.”

In an era of notable all-rounders, including Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Kapil Dev and  Richard Hadlee, Rice’s exploits were limited to South African domestic cricket, the English county championship and Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket. He excelled in them all. Rice captained the Transvaal ‘mean machine’ which dominated South Africa’s domestic competitions during the 1980s, led Nottinghamshire to their first county championship in 52 years and was one of the stars in the Packer matches. Rice, who turned 66 five days ago, died in his native South Afica just over four months after receiving robotic radiation treatment in the Indian city of Bangalore, which he described in an interview in March as “miraculous”.