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'Baloo Gupte spun ball more than brother Subhash'

July 05, 2005 15:53 IST

Baloo Gupte, who died in Mumbai on Tuesday following a prolonged illness, used to spin the ball more than his elder and more famous brother Subhash, his one-time Mumbai and India teammate Bapu Nadkarni said while condoling the former India leg spinner's death.

"He used to turn the ball bigger than Subhash but paled in comparison to his brother as far as flight and accuracy were concerned. Baloo was one of those cricketers who under-performed at the Test level," the former Test left-arm spinner, known for his accuracy, said in his tribute.

Nari Contractor, under whose captaincy Baloo made his Test debut in 1960-61 against Fazal Mehmood's Pakistan team at the Corporation Stadium in Chennai, also described the departed soul as a "very good leg spinner".

"Like Padmakar Shivalkar, whose career clashed with that of Bapu, Baloo too was born at the wrong time when there were other contemporaries including his own brother Subhash. And when he got the chance to play for India he did not perform well," Contractor said.

Chandu Borde, Gupte's another erstwhile teammate and a leg spinner of repute who gave up bowling because of a shoulder problem, echoed Nadkarni's views that he used to turn the ball bigger than Subash while lacking the latter's accuracy.

"If he had had better control over line and length and had he come on the scene sometime later he could have played more for the country. He was very soft-spoken and did yeoman service for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy," Borde added.

Gupte played three Tests for India between 1960-61 and 1964-65. His first class career started in 1953-53 and lasted till 1967-68.

Only a handful of former Mumbai and Test cricketers were present at the funeral.

Among those who attended the service at the Shivaji Park crematorium in central Mumbai were former Test captain Ajit Wadekar, ex-opener Madhav Apte and former stumper Chandu Patankar, Mumbai Cricket Association sources said.

Gupte, who played in three Tests for India between 1960-61 and 1964-65, represented Mumbai, Bengal and Railways in the Ranji Trophy in a career stretching from 1953-54 to 1967-68.