Originally a left-arm spinner, Van der Merwe became a dependable middle-order batsman and was also one of several outstanding fielders for South Africa in the 1960s, Sport24 reports.
Van der Merwe captained South Africa in eight Test matches, leading the team to a series victory in England in 1965 and then leading them to South Africa’s first ever series victory over Australia at home in the summer of 1966/67, the paper said.
Van der Merwe became the first national convener of selectors when South African cricket was unified in 1991, including for the historic first tour to India that year as well as the Cricket World Cup in 1992, the paper added.
Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) acting president Jacques Faul paid his tribute to the former skipper.
Faul said Van der Merwe made an immense contribution to South African cricket both on and off the field, adding that the former Proteas star played a major role in changing the mindset of country’s cricket from a defensive to an attacking style of play.
His second wife, Rhoda, and his three sons from his first marriage to Margaret who died in 2002 survive Van der Merwe.