Sobers prefers Gupte over Warne
by Arshad Chughtai

Player:SP Gupte, GS Sobers, SK Warne

DateLine: 9th March 2006


Sir Gary Sobers believes that the best leg spinner he has ever seen is still Subhash Gupte and rated him higher than Shane Warne. Indeed the late bowler in his prime was wizard of the art of spin bowling. Subhash Gupte performances are recounted below:


Born in Bombay in 1929 Gupte had made his first class debut in 1948-49. Later in his test career spanning from 1951-52 to 1962 the splendid artist of spin bowling "Fergie Gupte" finished with 149 wickets (29.54 in his 36 tests against five countries). Based on his successful performance (27 wickets) on pervious tour in 1951-52 he was destined to tour the Caribbean again with Nari Contractor's Indian team in 1961-62 but unfortunately only disciplinary measures prevented him to under take the tour. He later married a West Indian girl and settled in Trinidad Incidentally his best bowling analysis was also against the West Indies when at Kanpur he captured 9 for 102 in the first innings and 10 wickets in the match during the West Indies tour of India in 1958-59. It was also the first instance bowler for an Indian to claim 9 wickets in a test innings and until then the 6th in all test cricket.


Infact in 1954-55, he became the first Indian bowler to take all 10 wickets in an innings - 10 for 78 for Bombay versus Pakistan services & Bhawalpur-XI.


Such was his class and quality that Jim Laker had rated him as the best of modern leg spinners along side Dooland. Mastering Gupte was my real prize Rohan Kanhai had complimented after his superb knock of 256 at Calcutta in 1958-59.


David Frith in his book The slow men writes that Gupte was a supreme leg spinner whose record in tests could have been even better had not so many catches been spilt and had his captains not been tempted to use him in such long wearing spells.


After Vinoo Mankad he was the second Indian bowler to claim 100 test wickets. His 100th test Victim was none other than the great West Indian Rohan Kanhai, whom he had bowled all over the place for naught at Kanpur in 1958-59 to reach the mile stone.


Slender Gupte's best series was against Newzealand at home in 1955-56 when he claimed 34 wickets in four tests as many as all his colleagues claimed together.


Earlier he had a successful tour of Pakistan in 1954-55 claiming 21 wickets in the drawn five test rubber. Thrice he captured 5 wickets in an innings 5/18 at Dacca. 5/133 at Lahore and 5/63 as Peshawar In his entire career he took five wickets in an innings twelve times. Subhash Gupte's last test series was against Pakistan tourists in 1960 - 61 when he appeared in first three tests and claimed 8 wickets.


Subhash Gupte died at the age of 73 on 31st May 2002 in Trinidad.


Test Cricket Record:-


PeriodMatchesWickets Avg5WI10 WMBest Bowling

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2006


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