Not many of us are aware of the fact that Subhash Gupte was one of the cricket’s finest spin bowlers. He was well appreciated by people of the cricket fraternity. In his short career spanning almost 10 years, he left no stone unturned and always maintained a good name through his exceptional skills. He was pronounced by Sir Garry Sobers as “the best leg spinner”.
Making his debut in 1951-1952, he easily overtook Vinoo Mankad as the country’s leading spinner. In West Indies, Gupte took almost 27 wickets in 1952-53 and 34 against New Zealand at home in 1955-56. At Kanpur in 1958-59, he bagged 9 West Indian wickets in a 102 runs inning. In a match played against Bahawalpur CC, he took all 10 wickets.
However, his glorious career came to a bitter end after some unexpected circumstances during 1961-1962. During the test match against England, the Indian team stayed in Delhi’s Imperial Hotel. Gupte’s roommate A. G. Kripal Singh called up the hotel’s receptionist and tried fixing a date with her. A complaint was made by the receptionist to team India’s manager and the matter became worse in the following days. The board however, decided to punish both players. Gupte was blamed by one of the board members for not stopping Kripal from using the hotel phone, to which he replied, “He is a big man. How can I stop him?”
Gupte further mentioned,
Nothing had happened! Kripal had not raped the girl or assaulted her, he just asked her out for a drink. Ultimately, the board took the decision that neither player should be considered for the subsequent West Indies tour.
Gupte never played again for the Indian team and went to Trinidad. He settled there and married a local girl. Years later, Mihir Bose wrote about Gupte in his famous book ‘History of Indian Cricket’,
India’s first great spinner ended his career because he happened to share a room with a man who wanted a drink with a girl.