Raman Subba Row obituary


The cricketer Raman Subba Row, who has died aged 92, performed greater than a dozen Take a look at matches as an newbie for England between 1958 and 1961. Then he shocked the selectors by retiring on the peak of his powers to pursue a enterprise profession. Few within the fashionable recreation would voluntarily finish their enjoying days at their peak, however Subba Row lived in an period when “gents” gamers usually nurtured a studied indifference in the direction of sporting achievement, and in any case usually wanted to discover a secure revenue past the boundary.

Subba Row left cricket to work in public relations, however later he made an extra mark on the sport as an influential administrator, and as chairman of the Take a look at and County Cricket Board (TCCB) was a number one determine within the handing over of world energy from MCC to the Worldwide Cricket Council.

Subba Row’s championing of that transfer within the late Nineteen Eighties finally helped to convey a couple of lasting shift in cricket’s energy steadiness, away from its conventional centres of England and Australia and in the direction of India. Though this was maybe not his total intention – and he later had reservations about the way in which the ICC exercised its energy – it appeared an applicable end result for somebody of Anglo-Indian descent whose bonds with the subcontinent remained sturdy.

Subba Row was born in Streatham, south London, to Panguluri Subba Rao, an Indian barrister from Bapatla in Andhra Pradesh, and his spouse Doris (nee Pinner), whom Panguluri had met on a stopover in London after learning legislation at Queen’s Faculty, Cork. As soon as he settled and married in Britain, Panguluri anglicised his surname and the younger Raman went to Whitgift faculty in Croydon, and from there to Cambridge College to learn legislation in 1950.

He performed first-class cricket for Cambridge as a left-handed opening bat from 1951 to 1953 in a powerful facet that boasted two different future England gamers, Peter Might and David Sheppard. After college he progressed to his house county, Surrey, the place he made a large affect in his first season, averaging greater than 50 with the bat as they gained the county championship in 1953. However he was much less influential in 1954, and by 1955 he had joined Northamptonshire.

Nationwide service within the RAF intervened, however by 1958 he had returned to Northants, the place he displaced the seasoned skilled Dennis Brookes as captain – regardless that Brookes had simply steered the workforce to runners-up spot within the county championship. Whereas the parachuting in of a younger newbie skipper was not universally fashionable, Subba Row was capable of quell any rumblings of discontent with the standard of his batting.

He racked up precisely 300 in a single innings towards Surrey that season, which stood because the county’s highest particular person rating for 3 a long time, and in the identical match shared a partnership of 376 with Albert Lightfoot, nonetheless a Northants file for the sixth wicket. In 1959 he had his most prolific season, with 1,917 runs and 6 centuries, and in 1960 he topped the first-class averages with 1,503 runs at 55.66.

He gained the primary of his 13 Take a look at caps in 1958, and customarily carried out effectively for England. Robust on the leg-side, and an astute stealer of fast singles, he was by no means an particularly thrilling participant to observe. His Northants colleague Frank Tyson described him as a batsman of “monolithic focus and unshakeable dedication”, whereas Wisden nervous about his “cramped-looking fashion” and “a sure awkwardness of motion”.

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Subba Row batting towards Australia on the Oval, south London, with opposition wicketkeeper Wally Grout and captain Richie Benaud, August 1961. {Photograph}: Dennis Oulds/Getty Photographs

But he was as efficient at worldwide degree as he was within the home recreation, and over the following three years averaged 46.85 for England, scoring three centuries, one towards West Indies in 1960 (in his first abroad Take a look at), and two towards Australia in 1961, when he was chosen as a Wisden cricketer of the yr.

However simply as he appeared to have grabbed an England place for so long as he wished to occupy it, Subba Row introduced his shock retirement on the age of 29. In 260 firstclass matches he had scored 30 centuries, averaged 41.46 with the bat, and had taken 87 wickets together with his occasional leg breaks.

As an newbie Subba Row had mixed his cricket with work at an accountancy agency after which as a publicist for a London-based music publishing firm. On leaving the sport he turned an affiliate director of the promoting company WS Crawford, spending six years there earlier than organising a small PR firm with two former work colleagues, which he ran for greater than 20 years.

However the hyperlinks with cricket remained sturdy, and within the mid-60s he was elected on to Surrey’s committee, the place he was to turn out to be a modernising determine who helped to rework the county’s angle to advertising and marketing, sponsorship and promoting. Throughout a five-year stint as Surrey’s chairman from 1974 he additionally appointed Micky Stewart because the county’s first cricket supervisor, a pioneering transfer.

In 1981-82 he was England’s tour supervisor to India, the place he needed to ship house Geoffrey Boycott ostensibly resulting from “in poor health well being”, and from 1985 till 1990 he was chairman of the TCCB, the place he made full use of his quiet attraction and diplomatic abilities. Extra forward-thinking than many within the cricketing institution, Subba Row used his time there to assist wrest management of the sport’s administration from MCC, whose president robotically turned chairman of the ICC till 1989. Having been elected to the MCC committee in 1967 he was additionally a progressive voice inside that physique, arguing tirelessly for a extra fashionable, business method.

As TCCB chairman, in 1987 Subba Row performed a key function in making an attempt to dampen the fires that had been kindled in Pakistan when the England captain Mike Gatting and the Pakistani umpire Shakoor Rana squared up to one another in a Take a look at match at Faisalabad, a row that threatened to show right into a full-scale diplomatic incident. Because the International Workplace stood by to assist, Subba Row painstakingly brokered a deal below which Gatting grudgingly produced a handwritten apology to Rana, permitting the match to restart. He additionally unilaterally awarded the England gamers a controversial £1,000 hardship bonus in recognition of the stresses they’d endured on the tour.

To Subba Row’s satisfaction, the Gatting/Rana furore led to the appointment of impartial umpires in Exams and, having been awarded a CBE in 1991 for providers to cricket, he himself oversaw many video games as an ICC referee. After his retirement from the PR trade, he officiated in 41 Take a look at matches and 119 one-day internationals between 1992 and 2001.

He intervened in quite a lot of controversies, sanctioning Australia’s Glenn McGrath for spitting at an opponent, banning Australia’s Ian Healy for 2 matches for dissent, and overseeing South Africa’s 2000 sequence in India, the place issues about match-fixing first started to floor. Subba Row confronted each captains on that tour about his suspicions, and was disillusioned that the ICC didn’t again him up and take additional motion.

Later he expressed remorse that since gaining extra energy via the ICC, India had “performed politics” with the sport he liked. However he continued to take pleasure in travelling recurrently to the nation, each for cricket and to go to household and pals.

He’s survived by his spouse, Anne (nee Harrison), whom he married in 1960, by their kids, Alistair and Michelle, and by 4 grandchildren. One other son, Christopher, predeceased him.


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