Procter – Right place, wrong time
Like so many other great players of his generation, the sporting boycott imposed on South Africa because of its Apartheid policy of the time meant Mike Procter effectively missed out on playing Test cricket.
One of the finest allrounders the game has known, ‘Proccie’ played just the seven matches for his country – all against Australia – and gave the world a glimpse of what he is capable of with 41 wickets at an average of just 15.
Of course, he later had the chance to showcase his brilliance in World Series Cricket, in England for Gloucestershire, and on the local scene for Natal, Western Province and Rhodesia, but cricket is poorer for not seeing more of Procter with the South African badge on his chest.
The man himself will tell you “it is what it is”, but as with Test cricket, there are two other formats of the game Procter never truly got to embrace.
“I would have enjoyed T20 … it just epitomises the way I used to play my cricket, he says. “It’s something so different to what we were used to at the time.
“It’s short, sharp and sweet, the crowd really love it, there’s lots of boundaries. I guess you have to feel for the bowlers, but then cricket has always been a batsman’s game, especially in limited overs.”
And what about Veterans Cricket? Could we have seen an older Procter with the Protea on his blazer had it been around earlier?
“Yeah, absolutely! Over-50s and Over-60s … if I was 10 years younger I would have definitely given it a shot,” he says. “Unfortunately it wasn’t around back then, but it’s great.
“Speaking to Barrie [Richards], he would have given it a go as well. It just passed us, but still we are very fortunate that we have an ambassadorial role and haven’t been left out, and it’s just so nice to be a part of it.”
Procter has been involved in cricket for his entire life. From his playing days he went into coaching, leading the Proteas on their first ever tour after isolation as Clive Rice and his team of rookies were beaten 2-1 in an ODI series in India.
He was a director for cricket at Free State, Natal and Northamptonshire, an International Cricket Council match referee, and he still runs an academy in KZN along with former Natal allrounder Rodney Malamba.
Last year Procter was the team manager as a South African side featuring Omar Henry played at the Over-60s World Cup in Australia, and next week you will see him reassume his duties as ambassador for the Over-50s World Cup, which will again be sponsored by Evergreen Lifestyle.
“I was at the last World Cup in Cape Town that got aborted when COVID was just starting,” he says. “Now we go again in 2023 and it’s fantastic … the camaraderie is great, the standard of cricket was very, very good and the guys are so keen.
“What is so good about the Over-50s and Over-60s is the vibe. It really is a lovely spirit, the cricket is tough on the field, but the guys have a good time as well. Cape Town couldn’t be a better venue for a World Cup; it really is something special.
“For those guys that didn’t have the opportunity to represent South Africa in their younger days, it is a chance and it is something, and they feel that, they really do. You’ve got the blazer and that badge on your chest, and it’s a fully-fledged World Cup which is becoming bigger and better all the time.
“The South African team is a really good one, and Louis Koen and the boys will put up a good show. And they are under big pressure now, because they are going to have to try and emulate the T20 girls, and even go one better!”
About Evergreen Lifestyle
Established in 2008, Evergreen Lifestyle is South Africa’s premium retirement brand with seven operating villages in the Western Cape and Gauteng, and a further six in the pipeline. The business began with a vision to change the retirement landscape in South Africa, offering a partnership for life based on five key pillars: physical security, financial peace of mind, continuous care, a sense of community and exceptional hospitality.
You’ll find Evergreen’s award-winning retirement villages in the most beautiful parts of the country, at the end of sun dappled country lanes, perched on majestic mountain slopes, and within walking distance of our beaches, rivers, and wetlands. And you’ll find vibrant fun-loving communities enjoying the finer things in life – like good food, great company, lasting friendships, and a sense of belonging that is enabled by the resort style facilities and amenities on offer.