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Tributes pour in for late SA cricket icon Mike Procter from former Proteas

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On Monday his family revealed that he had suffered a ‘cardiac incident’ while recovering in a hospital intensive care unit following routine surgery.

South Africa cricket legend and former national coach Mike Procter died on Saturday at the age of 77. File Picture: AFP PHOTO, Prakash SINGH

South Africa cricket legend and former national coach Mike Procter died on Saturday at the age of 77, his wife told AFP.

“He suffered a complication during surgery, became unconscious and never woke up,” Maryna Procter said.

Procter was an outstanding all-rounder who became South Africa’s first coach in the post-apartheid era and had a controversial stint as an International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee.

On Monday his family revealed that he had suffered a “cardiac incident” while recovering in a hospital intensive care unit following routine surgery.

Procter was being treated in a hospital near his hometown, the coastal city of Durban.

Jonty Rhodes leads the tributes

Former Proteas cricketer Jonty Rhodes paid tribute to Procter on X, formerly Twitter: Devastated to hear about the passing of Mike Procter. He was my first provincial and international coach, and I obviously knew something about his playing career. Yet, it was only when I played for @Gloscricket that I appreciated the extent of his all-rounder abilities.”

Dave Nosworthy said: “Go well Proc – proper cricketing man who was down to earth and just loved the game. He always for some reason had time for me and my many probably stupid questions around the game, which I have never forgotten and so appreciated at the time as a young coach.

“Was so privileged to have watch him play for @Gloscricket, to commentate with him for @SuperSportTV, and to see him progress on into an awesome match referee for the @ICC – Simply put, a #legend of #cricket and a very sad loss…! Condolences to Maryna and the entire #Proctor family…”

Herschelle Gibbs said: “Sad news about the passing of the great Mike proctor.. great all rounder and competitor of note. Rest well proc.”

Procter’s international playing career with South Africa was cut short in 1970 when his country was banished from world cricket because of its apartheid government.

Before the ban, South Africa won six of the seven Tests in which he played, all against Australia.

Procter was renowned primarily as a fearsome fast bowler, taking 41 wickets at an average of 15.02 runs in his seven Tests.

But he was also a flamboyant batsman, and equalled a world batting record when he hit six first-class centuries in successive innings.

Coaching career

Post-democracy, South Africa returned to international cricket, Procter became coach of the international side and led them to the semi-finals of the 1992 World Cup.

Procter played first-class cricket for 16 years, including 14 seasons with English county Gloucestershire, five of them as captain, where he achieved legendary status.

David Graveney, a former Gloucestershire teammate 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 players I ever played with.

“The phase ‘Proctershire’ was very apt for Mike. He put in the biggest performances in the biggest games.”

In South Africa, he played most of his cricket for Natal, the province where he was born.

His six successive centuries were made for the then Rhodesia between 1970 and 1971, culminating in a career-best 254 against Western Province.

He scored 21,082 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 36.92, hitting 47 centuries, and took 1,357 wickets at an average of 19.07 runs.

He leaves behind his wife and two children.

AFP

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