Former Australia Test all-rounder Eric Freeman has passed away at the age of 76.
Freeman became Australia’s 244th men’s Test cricketer when he made his debut against India at the Gabba in 1968, removing both openers in the tourist’s first innings with his right-arm fast-mediums.
His finest series in the baggy green came against the West Indies in 1968-69, where he scored 183 runs at 30.50 – including two powerful half-centuries – and took 13 wickets at 30.07. He went on to play 11 Tests for Australia in which he scored 345 runs and scalped 34 wickets.
Freeman was also a prolific performer with ball and bat during his 83-game first class career with South Australia.
In the off-season, Freeman was an outstanding footballer for Port Adelaide throughout a SANFL career that spanned 116 games, highlighted by a premiership in 1965 and the Ken Farmer Medal in 1966 as the league’s leading goal-kicker (81). Freeman also represented South Australia on six occasions.
Freeman received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2002 for “services to sport, particularly cricket as a player, administrator and commentator”.
“Eric will forever be remembered as one of the greatest athletes South Australia has ever produced,” said Cricket Australia chair Earl Eddings in a statement. “He was an all-rounder in every sense of the word – powerful with both bat and ball in cricket and a prodigious goal-kicker with the Magpies in the winter months.
“He remained a popular member of the cricket family after his retirement as a player with commentary roles on the ABC and junior development positions with West Torrens. On behalf of everyone within Australian cricket, we pass on our sincere condolences to Eric’s family,” he added.