Remembering Raman Subba Row CBE

Remembering Raman Subba Row CBE

Raman Subba Row is pictured on the middle row, second from the left (1949 Whitgift School First XI).

We were all saddened last week to hear of the death of one of our finest OWs, Raman Subba Row. At 92, he was the oldest living England cricketer, and when I met him on his 90th birthday a couple of years ago, his memory for the 60s and 70s was still sharp, though of course he was becoming frail. The word one keeps coming back to is ‘gentleman’. An old-fashioned concept? Well, if we mean someone (male or female) who is honest, respectful of others, doesn’t take him or herself too seriously and lives by good, strong values, then surely it isn’t. He could (as a match referee) be pretty strict on any whiff of cheating or gamesmanship, though he was a doughty competitor too. It so happens that I have been reading a biography of Thomas Arnold (Headmaster of Rugby in the days of Tom Brown and the beginnings of the football variant that bears the school’s name!) and he too was preoccupied with his pupils becoming ‘gentlemen’: fair, with strong (in his case Christian) values and a sense of whatever the opposite of privilege is – service may be the best word, though it’s not quite that. More selflessness, a sense that the school, game, company, world, whatever, is bigger than them.