The 'nudging and scotching' of England's Raman Subba Row - Hindustan Times
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The 'nudging and scotching' of England's Raman Subba Row

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Apr 18, 2024 08:15 PM IST

The 'nudging and scotching' of England's Raman Subba Row

Raman Subba Row was England's oldest surviving Test cricketer until his death at the age of 92 on Thursday, having played 13 Tests between 1958 and 1961.

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A solid left-handed opening batsman, Subba Row made three Test centuries, all in the second innings, one an important 100 in Georgetown against the West Indies, and two in the 1961 Ashes.

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Three centuries in 12 Tests and a batting average of 46.85 was a fine return for a batsman who was known more for his obduracy than his flashy strokeplay.

The Times cricket correspondent John Woodcock described Subba Row's batting as "nudging and cutting and pushing and scotching, his shoulders hunched, his stance open..."

As an amateur Subba Row needed to earn a living and so quit cricket at the relatively young age of 29 to go into business but returned to the game as an influential administrator.

Born in London on January 29, 1932 to an Indian barrister father and English mother, Raman Subba Row enjoyed the privilege of a private education at Whitgift and then at Cambridge University.

He captained Cambridge in the 1953 Varsity match, the last of three he played in, and began his county career at Surrey before switching to Northamptonshire in 1955.

Three years later he was controversially offered the captaincy ahead of Dennis Brookes who had led the side to second in the county championship the previous year.

Making 300, batting at five, against his old county Surrey in 1958 pushed his case for promotion and he duly made his England debut against New Zealand at Old Trafford.

It was his only Test that summer and he made another solitary appearance the following season against India, making 94 at The Oval.

After coming back into the team in Georgetown and helping to get the draw, Subba Row kept his place for the series against South Africa in 1960 and Australia a year later.

In the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston Subba Row made 112 in just over four hours as England battled to save the match, having conceded a first innings lead of 321.

With Ted Dexter also making 180, England did it with some comfort. - 'Marvellous series' -

Subba Row made half-centuries in the second and fourth Tests before signing off at the Oval with 137, spanning almost six and a half hours, which secured the draw for England although Australia won the series 2-1.

"It was a marvellous series," he said in an interview with Bengaluru Online.

"We were level going into the fourth Test match. When we came to the last day, we were winning it at the start.

"It was up, down, up, down and we ended losing it. It was a wonderful game of cricket played in a very good spirit."

He was the fourth successive batsman of Indian descent to score a century for England on their Ashes debut following KS Ranjitsinhji , KS Duleepsinhji and the Nawab of Pataudi .

With questions being raised about his amateur status, Subba Row retired from all cricket at the end of the 1961 summer to set up his own public relations company.

Two years later, the division between amateurs and professionals in English cricket was scrapped.

He continued to play an important role in cricket, his work as chairman of Surrey reviving the club's fortunes off and on the field and kickstarting the redevelopment of The Oval.

He also served as Chairman of the Test and Country Cricket Board the precursor to today's England and Wales Cricket Board and was England's tour manager to India in 1981, a tedious series played out as a number of his players, including Geoffrey Boycott, were secretly negotiating a rebel tour to South Africa.

He later went on to officiate as match referee in 41 Tests and 119 one-day internationals.

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This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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