Ron Archer dies at 73
Ron Archer, the allrounder who played 19 Tests for Australia during the 1950s, has died of lung cancer at the age of 73. Archer's death on Sunday came just two days after the passing of his Australia team-mate and fast-bowling colleague Bill Johnston.
Archer was a talented all-round sportsman when he was plucked from the Queensland side to make his Test debut at just 19, against South Africa in 1952-53. However, a knee injury ended his international career when he was only 22, leaving him with 713 runs at 24.58 and 48 wickets at 27.45.
He was one of Australia's record five centurions in the first innings against West Indies at Kingston in 1954-55. Archer made 128 - his only Test hundred - at No. 6 and joined Colin McDonald, Neil Harvey, Keith Miller and Richie Benaud in reaching triple-figures.
Archer had already made 84 and 98 on the tour, which undoubtedly marked his high-point as a Test batsman. However, he cemented his place in the side largely as a new-ball or first-change fast bowler.
Like his older team-mate Johnston, Archer held his own in a quality attack that often featured Miller, Ray Lindwall and Alan Davidson. His best bowling in an innings was the 5 for 53 he claimed at The Oval in 1956, in what would be his second last Test.
On the way home, Australia played a one-off Test match against Pakistan at Karachi and it was there that Archer sustained the knee injury that ended his career. He returned as a specialist batsman for Queensland in 1958-59 and averaged over 40, but his body would no longer stand up to the rigours of first-class cricket.
He had made his debut for Queensland in 1951-52, at the age of 18, having played first-grade cricket in Brisbane since he was 15. Joining his brother Ken in the state side, Archer made an immediate impact, taking eight wickets on debut against South Australia. He was also a highly-skilled rugby union player, Australian Rules footballer and baseballer, but he focused on cricket after he was chosen in the Test team barely a year after joining the Queensland side.
Archer finished with 255 wickets at 23.36 from his 98 first-class matches and also scored 3768 runs at 31.93. Like Ken, who also played for Australia, he became a TV executive, rising through the ranks to become general manager of Channel 0. He also retained his links with cricket as Cricket Australia's Code of Behaviour Commissioner and once acted as an ICC match referee.
Creagh O'Connor, Cricket Australia's chairman, said Archer gave tirelessly to the game after his playing days prematurely ended. "Ron Archer had a brief and very successful Test career which was tragically cut short by an injury of the type that modern sports medicine would today probably have overcome," O'Connor said.
"But while his international playing career was too short, he still devoted an energetic and cheerful lifetime of support to the game that he loved, contributing right up until his final summer".
Damien Mullins, the chairman of Queensland Cricket, said Archer would be remembered as one of the state's greats. "Ron was not only an outstanding cricketer, he was a wonderful cricket person and everyone who knew him will miss him enormously," Mullins said.