Legendary South African all-rounder Mike Procter dies, aged 77

Mike Procter, one of South Africa's great all-rounders, has died at the age of 77.

Procter's wife Maryna confirmed the news to South African press late on Saturday after complications during heart surgery.

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Procter is considered as a Test great despite a short international career,  abbreviated due to South Africa's sporting isolation from the 1970s and 1980s. He played seven Test matches, all against Australia, taking 41 wickets at an impressive average of 15.02. Known for a chest-on action and releasing the ball early in his delivery stride, South Africa went undefeated in the seven-Test stretch, winning six matches.

Procter was also known for his power with the bat, making key runs in a 4-0 whitewash of Australia in 1969/1970, and his work for South Africa was acknowledged by Wisden, named as one of their Cricketers of the Year in 1970.

Procter's unique bowling action

Procter was South Africa's coach upon their readmission to international cricket, and oversaw the Proteas' 1992 Cricket World Cup to the semi-finals.

Procter went on to serve as an ICC match referee between 2002 and 2008.

“It’s sad to hear of Mike’s death," ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said in his statement. "He was one of the most admired cricketers of his time and one of the most feared opponents. He was a quick bowler and an attacking batter who excelled against all opposition.

“Mike was one of the biggest names in a fine South Africa side that included the likes of Barry Richards and Graeme Pollock. He also officiated as an ICC Match Referee in several important series. The world of cricket will be poorer for his death,” Allardice said.

Mike Procter with Michael Vaughan