Mike Procter – Part of the Cotswords’ Scene. OF all the post-1945 importations into English cricket, none has become so popular with the natives, and none has identified himself so whole-heartedly with his adopted county, as Mike Procter. Not a naturally forthcoming man— Gloucestershire people at first mistook his diffidence for dourness, his shyness for sullenness.
He gradually became as much a part of the scene of the Severn and Cots-wolds as ever he had been of the Veld. ‘Our Mike’, they say of him in Gloucestershire, as they used to say ‘Our Tom’ in Goddard’s time and ‘Our Walter’ when Hammond was king.
Mike Procter is an all-rounder, a fast bowler; at one time, just before Denis Lillee, probably the fastest in the world; a batsman not quite as good as Barry Richards, but a harder Trier than Richards when the pressure is on. Sometimes he has been too hard a Trier to make sense. After taking a long time to recover from a knee injury (he had to be content with knocking them over with off-spinners during his convalescence).
He decided that he might turn a Gillette Cup semi-final if he put in a few overs at high speed. He tried, and the knee bust. This was an occasion when the game was not worth the candle, even though he had a score or two to settle at Old Trafford. But that is the man, and I expect he would do it again. Mike Procter played seven times for South Africa and five times for the Rest of the World in 1970.
Others say, in the 1975 year, when he was at his peak, he would have been the obvious choice to lead an Earth XI in the Galactic Championships. It would not have occurred to any of his team to ask what color his captain happened to be, nor would it have crossed the captain’s mind to enquire about the pigmentation blend of his team.
It was not always thus: cricket has been a civilizing influence upon Procter, but so has Procter been a civilizing influence on cricket. His batting style is classical. His bowling, however fearsome, and though he denies it, is mostly done off the wrong foot. That he has sustained such an action for so long with such success is an astonishing testimony to his strength.