Northamptonshire County Cricket Club are sad to announce that Raman Subba Row CBE passed away on Wednesday April 17 at the age of 92 .

At the time of his death he was both England’s oldest Test cricketer and Northamptonshire’s oldest captain.

Raman – who was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame at the annual presentation evening in 2022, in the welcome presence of his wife Anne and son Alistair – played 113 first-class matches for Northamptonshire, scoring 7,050 runs including the county’s first-ever triple century, 300 against Surrey at The Oval in 1958.

He succeeded Dennis Brookes as captain in 1958 (Northamptonshire finishing fourth in the Championship table) and led the side until his retirement from the first-class game at the end of the 1961 season.

Born in Streatham on January 29, 1932, Raman attended Whitgift School and moved on to Cambridge University where he gained his cricket Blue in three successive seasons.  In 1953, after leaving Cambridge, he began his career in county cricket with Surrey and also toured India with a Commonwealth side that winter – alongside future Wantage Road team-mate Des Barrick.

Unable to secure a permanent place in the powerful Surrey side which won the Championship seven years running between 1952 and 1958, he moved to Northamptonshire in 1955 and was able to train with a local accountancy firm when not playing cricket.  He made an immediate impact that summer with an innings of 260 against Lancashire at Northampton, setting a new club record which he would break himself three years later. 

It was this move to Northampton that paved the way for England selection against New Zealand in July 1958; he made 13 Test appearances, scoring a century in both his first and last Tests against Australia during the 1961 series, and was named one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year.  He was selected for MCC tours to Australia and New Zealand in 1958-9, and West Indies in 1959-60.

In all first-class cricket, Raman scored 14,182 runs at 41.46 with 30 centuries, claimed 87 wickets and held 176 catches.

Life after playing cricket took him into the world of public relations, whilst returning to Surrey CCC to help drive a programme of ground development, commercial sponsorship and creating long-term income at The Oval with Bernie Coleman, Derek Newton and Brian Downing.  Raman was a pioneer when it came to marketing the game.

In 1981-82 he managed England’s cricket tour to India and Sri Lanka, captained by Keith Fletcher.  Between 1985 and 1990 he was Chairman of the Test and County Cricket Board, forerunner of ECB, and later became an ICC match referee – overseeing 41 Tests and 119 One-Day Internationals worldwide.

Raman journeyed to Northampton in 1998 to congratulate Mal Loye on becoming the county’s second triple-centurion, four decades after his own achievement.

He believed the game of cricket should be enjoyed by everyone everywhere, and in 1991 he was awarded a CBE by the late Queen Elizabeth II for services to cricket.

He is survived by his wife Anne, daughter Michele, son Alistair, eight grandchildren and a great grand-daughter. His eldest son Christopher sadly passed away in 2020.

Former team-mate Frank Tyson praised his ‘monolithic concentration and unshakeable determination’ at the crease, while former prime minister Sir John Major insisted that ‘few, if any, others have contributed so much to the game as both player and innovator.’

Paying tribute on behalf of Northamptonshire CCC, chairman Gavin Warren said: ‘Raman was a great man and his service to cricket was of the highest order.  He always spoke fondly of his time as a player with us, and we were proud to induct him into our Hall of Fame.’

Everyone involved with the club offers sincere condolences to Raman’s family and friends.

Words by Club Archivist Andrew Radd