SA cricket mourns Tiger Lance

South African cricket’s flag was at half-mast on Wednesday as it mourned sporting great Herbert Roy “Tiger” Lance, who died at the age of 70 of complications following a car crash.

“He was both a powerful cricketer and a powerful personality and was a legend in his own lifetime,” said Cricket South Africa (CSA) CEO Gerald Majola.

Lance dislocated his right hip, sustained internal bleeding of the lung, and possibly a perforated diaphragm in a head-on collision near Leeuwkop Prison, in Sunninghill, on October 15.

At the time, police said Lance’s car was hit by a woman driving on the wrong side of the road. She was critically injured in the crash.

“South African cricket mourns the loss of Tiger Lance in such tragic circumstances,” said Majola.

Born on June 6 1940 in Pretoria, Lance played 13 Test matches for South Africa between 1962 and 1970, scoring 591 runs at an average of 28,14 and taking 12 wickets at 39,91.

He played 103 first-class games for North-eastern Transvaal, Northern Transvaal and Transvaal. He scored 5 336 first-class runs at an average of 34,87 and claimed 167 wickets at average of 25,65.

“Tiger was always a most-valued VIP guest in the CSA’s Presidential Suite at the Wanderers during international matches in recent times, and we are shocked and dismayed at his passing in these tragic circumstances,” said Majola.

“CSA extends its condolences to his family and friends at this sad time and South African cricket’s flag is now at half-mast in tribute to him.”

‘He battled it out right to the end’
Lance died in a Johannesburg hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

“True to his character and nature, he battled it out right to the end,” said former South African cricket boss Dr Ali Bacher.

Describing him as one of the “finest-ever” all-round sportsmen, Bacher said Lance had played cricket for South Africa with distinction.

Bacher captained the last Test match in which Lance played, against Bill Lawry’s Australians at St George’s Park, in Port Elizabeth, in 1970—the last time South Africa would play a Test there for 22 years.

They were part of a legendary side that included Barry Richards, Graeme Pollock, Mike Procter, Eddie Barlow, Lee Irvine, Peter Pollock, and Dennis Lindsay.

They beat the Australians 4-0, winning the final Test by 323 runs.

Eight years earlier, in 1962, Lance made his Test debut against New Zealand at the New Wanderers in Johannesburg.

“He batted with distinction at number five, was an outstanding slip catcher and a very good medium-fast seam bowler,” said Bacher.

Lance also distinguished himself on the soccer field, representing Mayfair Rangers as a fullback in South Africa’s first professional league. He also played hockey.—Sapa

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