South Africa Mourns Cricketing Legend

Will be fondly remembered

One of  world cricket’s greatest all-rounders of the 20th century, Mike Procter passed away in Durban on Saturday afternoon after complications following heart surgery. He was 77.

A formidable all-rounder in his prime, he made seven Test appearances for South Africa between 1967 and 1970; picking up 41 wickets and making 226 runs in the process.

Mike Procter was named one of Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year in 1970, after a 103-wicket season for Gloucestershire in 1969, and at Taunton in August 1979, he secured another niche entry in the record books by slamming Somerset’s Dennis Breakwell for six consecutive sixes, albeit not in the same over.

Fierce and fast with the ball and hard-hitting with the bat, Mike was a vital cog in one of the finest lineups South Africa has ever produced, which boasted the likes of Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards and Eddie Barlow in their ranks.

Australia was the only opponent the Hilton graduate faced during his brief international career for the Springboks (as the national cricket side was then known), partaking in the successful home series of 1966-67 and 1969-70 before the advent of the isolation era in 1970.

If not for their exclusion from international cricket, it’s likely South Africa would have gone on to dominate the Test landscape for many years given the astonishing talent at their disposal during that period. Unfortunately for Procter and his generation, South Africa’s apartheid policies left the ICC with no choice but to impose their ban.

Aside from his beloved Natal, Procter went on to represent Gloucestershire, Western Province and Rhodesia.

Among his many other achievements, he memorably took two hat-tricks in as many games for the English county side in 1979 and scored six centuries in consecutive first-class innings for Rhodesia in the early 1970s.

He also enjoyed the unique distinction of having coached the Proteas upon their readmission to international cricket in the early 1990’s.

Journalist Pat Murphy who worked alongside Procter hailed “the superb all-rounder”.

“Wrote 2 books with him, the 1st an hilarious challenge, as he could hardly remember any of his prodigious feats. ‘Look it up in Wisden, mate’ he’d say. Couldn’t ever be annoyed with a great guy,” Murphy wrote on X.

David Graveney, a former Gloucestershire team-mate of Procter, said the South African “was a fantastic player and quite rightly regarded as one of the best all-rounders that has ever represented Gloucestershire”.

He added: “I don’t think people realise that when Mike played he was playing through great pain in his knee, but that didn’t stop him from performing at the level he did. He was just one of the best I ever played with.The phrase ‘Proctershire’ was very apt for Mike. He put in the biggest performances in the biggest games.”

The cricketing legend joined the Hollywoodbets team as a Brand Ambassador in March 2020, where his passion for developing the future of South African sport was shared.

He was known as a man whose heart was for the disadvantaged youth, giving of his time by coaching and educating them on basic sports skills, physical education and the fun of being active.

Hollywoodbets Brand & Communications Manager Devin Heffer told the Sporting Post that Mike Procter was considered one of the greatest cricketers, not just to play for KZN and South Africa, but in the history of global cricket. His ferociousness with the ball, and his attacking class with the bat, ranked him as one of the best to grace a cricket field.

“Proccie was a legend and he will be fondly remembered as a kind-hearted human-being, who was always giving back to make this world a better place. He was a perfect fit with the Hollywoodbets value of Ubuntu, and we, along with all the communities he served, will miss him greatly.  We are truly proud to remember him as a member of our team. Our condolences and strength go out to Maryna, Gregg, Tammy, Jessica and all his family, friends and his multitude of fans across the international cricketing world,” added Devin Heffer.

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