The world of cricket mourns the loss of one of its most revered figures, as former South African all-rounder Mike Procter passed away in Durban on February 17 following complications during heart surgery. He was 77. Procter’s wife, Maryna, confirmed the somber news to the South African press.

Despite a seven-Test match career, all of which were played against Australia, Procter’s impact on the game was profound, earning him status as one of the sport’s greatest. In these matches, he showcased his prowess both with bat and ball, scoring 226 runs and taking 41 wickets at an average of 15.02. Notably, South Africa remained undefeated in that stretch, attesting to both Procter’s skill and his influence on the team’s performance, winning six matches and drawing one. In his last appearance for South Africa, Procter achieved his best figures of 6/73, contributing to a stunning 323-run victory.

Procter’s contributions to the world of cricket were recognized early in his career, as he was named one of Wisden’s five Cricketers of the Year in 1970. This followed an exceptional season with Gloucestershire in 1969 where he secured an impressive tally of 103 wickets. However, his tenure at the highest level of international cricket was unfairly shortened by South Africa’s sporting isolation in the 1970s and 1980s, primarily due to the apartheid policies.

Though limited in his international exposure, Procter left an indelible mark on domestic cricket. In 401 matches, he amassed an astonishing 21,936 runs and claimed 1,417 wickets. His time with Gloucestershire in County cricket was particularly noteworthy, resulting in 259 appearances. There, he accumulated 14,441 runs at an average of 36.19, which included 32 centuries and a highest score of 209. Procter’s bowling was equally impressive, as he took 833 wickets for his County side, with a best of 8/30.

Following the end of apartheid and South Africa’s subsequent re-admission into international cricket, Procter transitioned from player to coach, becoming South Africa’s first in this new era. Under his guidance, South Africa played a historic series against the West Indies, before participating in the 1992 World Cup, showcasing the country’s re-emergence in world cricket.

Procter also played a significant role in cricket administration, serving as a match referee for the International Cricket Council (ICC) from 2002 to 2008. His expertise and fair judgment were vital components of his tenure in this position.

The cricket community will remember Procter not just for his statistics but also for the legacy he created through his sporting excellence and integrity. His passing is a significant loss to the game and all who had the fortune to witness his contributions to cricket.

Mike Procter is survived by his devoted wife Maryna and their two daughters. The cricket fraternity extends its deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the countless fans who admired his exceptional talent and commitment to the game.

In the face of this loss, cricket-related activities continue globally, with New Zealand announcing their squad for upcoming tests against Australia and the ILT20 2024 title recently being clinched by MI Emirates, powered by the efforts of Nicholas Pooran and Andre Fletcher. Coaches and players alike persist in fostering the sport’s development, but it is certain that Mike Procter’s absence will be deeply felt across the cricketing landscape.

By IPL Agent

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