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Mike Procter, fearsome South Africa pacer and powerful batter, dies at 77

Mike Procter, fearsome South Africa pacer and powerful batter, dies at 77

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Mike Procter, a fearsome pacer and powerful batter whose cricket career was restricted by an international ban on South Africa because of apartheid, has died. He was 77.

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Cricket South Africa (CSA) said in a statement Sunday that it “mourns the passing of Mike Procter, one of the game’s greatest all-rounders.”

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CSA president Rihan Richards called Procter “not just a giant on the field but a beacon of hope and inspiration off it,” adding that “Procter’s career as a fast bowler, capable off-spinner, hard-hitting middle-order batter, and astute captain is etched in the annals of cricket history.”

Procter was the first man to coach his country after the post-apartheid return to international cricket for South Africa. He had been considered one of the most gifted players of his generation but was restricted to just seven test appearances — where he took 41 wickets at an average of just 15 — due to South Africa’s political isolation.

Instead he had the chance to showcase his abilities in English county cricket, where his exploits for Gloucestershire saw the club affectionately nicknamed “Proctershire” in his honor.

“Gloucestershire Cricket is devastated to learn of the passing of former player and club legend, Mike Procter,” a statement from the county read. “Widely regarded as one of the greatest to ever play cricket for Gloucestershire, Procter tragically died on Saturday 17 February in hospital in his hometown of Durban, South Africa.”

When the Proteas were welcomed back into the international sporting arena, Procter was appointed the team’s head coach, guiding them through the earliest stages of their reintroduction and reaching the semifinals of the 1992 World Cup.

He later became chairman of selectors and an International Cricket Council match referee.


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