Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen yesterday paid tribute to his mentor and ex-South Africa all-rounder Clive Rice, who died after suffering from a brain tumour.
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Rice played a pivotal role in Pietersen’s development while coach of county side Nottinghamshire after signing the then young South African off-spinner in 2000. He helped convert Pietersen into a destructive batsman and put him on a road which would see him chalk up 104 Test appearances for his adopted country.
“He saw in me more than I saw in myself because be gave me the confidence, ability and opportunities to fulfil a talent that I really didn’t know that I had,” said Pietersen. “I’ve lost probably one of the greatest men I know in cricket.”
Rice scored 26,331 first-class runs at an average of 40.95 and claimed 930 wickets but did not play Test cricket, and only featured in three one-day internationals, as his career coincided with South Africa’s sporting isolation due to apartheid.
Pietersen added: “If I got a Test wicket or whenever I got a Test hundred I’d ask Ricey if he would like one of those on his numbers because he never played Test match cricket, the wonderful player that he was.”