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South African cricket legend Mike Proctor passes away

Mike Procter, the first man to coach the Proteas after South Africa's post-Apartheid return to international cricket, has passed away.

Procter was considered one of the most able players of his generation – a powerful hitter, fierce bowler and latterly a wily spinner – but was restricted to just seven Test appearances due to South Africa's political isolation, taking 41 wickets at 15.02.

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 honour.

He went on to play 482 matches for the club, scoring more than 20,000 runs and taking over 1,000 wickets. The Gloucestershire flag at the Seat Unique Stadium has been lowered to half-mast as a mark of respect and will remain that way until the start of the 2024 season.

A statement from the county read: "Gloucestershire Cricket is devastated to learn of the passing of former player and club legend, Mike Procter, aged 77.

"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."

His former team-mate David Graveney added a personal tribute.

"Mike was a fantastic player and quite rightly regarded as one of the best all-rounders that has ever represented Gloucestershire," he said.

"He was just one of the best players I ever played with. The phrase 'Proctershire' was very apt for Mike. He put in the biggest performances in the biggest games. The really good players perform on the biggest stage and that is what Mike did."

When the Proteas were welcomed back into the international sporting arena he was appointed as the team's head coach, guiding them through the earliest stages of their reintroduction and reaching the semi-finals of the 1992 World Cup.

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

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