When we talk about the greatest Indian spinners, we often name Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Bishan Singh Bedi, Vinoo Mankad, Erapalli Prasanna, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar and recently, Ravichandran Ashwin. But, how many of you know about Subhash Gupte?
Subhash Gupte played 36 Tests for India and took 149 wickets. When India were not a very strong team, Subhash Gupte troubled the likes of Sir Garry Sobers with his leg spin. He was also the first Indian to claim all 10 wickets in a first-class innings.
In the recent past, we have seen spinner-duos like Anil Kumble-Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin-Ravindra Jadeja, but it was the magical duo of Subash Gupte and Vinoo Mankad who formed the first pair of great spinners to operate together.
Sir Garry Sobers, who is widely regarded as the greatest all-rounder in cricket history, once said, “To me, Subhash Gupte was a better bowler than Shane Warne.”
In 1952-53, Subhash Gupte took 34 wickets against West Indies. In that series, he displayed top quality leg spin and troubled the great West Indian batsmen of that time, including Sir Garry Sobers.
However, Gupte’s glorious career ended in the most disappointing and unfortunate manner. In 1961, during a Test series between India and England, Indian cricket team stayed in Hotel Imperial in Delhi and his roommate was A.G. Kripal Singh. During the Test match, Kripal Singh was accused of harassing a hotel receptionist and asking her out on a date. The administrators had told Subhash Gupte that he should have prevented Kripal Singh from doing so. In reply, Gupte said, “He is a big man. How can I stop him?”
After that incident, Subhash Gupte, one of the greatest leg spinners in cricket history, never played a game for India. He was suspended and his career came to an end. However, funnily, Kripal Singh played some matches for India.