Subash Gupte was best leggie of all time, says Sobers

Published: Sep 21, 2010, 06:17 IST | Subash Gupte was best leggie of all time, says Sobers

West Indian legend Garry Sobers says India's Gupte was the finest leggie of all time

West Indian legend Garry Sobers says India's Gupte was the finest leggie of all time

According to West Indian legend Garry Sobers, India's Subash Gupte is the finest leg-spinner of all time.

In a book released in England yesterday entitled In a League of Their Own, Sobers, considered the greatest all-rounder ever, says: "I like Shane Warne's aggressive attitude, but in my estimation Subash Gupte was a better leg-spinner."

Mumbai-born Gupte migrated to the Caribbean and died there eight years ago. He played 36 Tests for India and took 149 wickets at an average of 29.55.

The insightful book by English writer Richard Sydenham, an occasional contributor to MiD DAY, is a collation of the all-time top XI from Jack Hobbs down to Don Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar. In the foreword, Sobers writes: "Someone who is called great from today's game is Shane Warne, but I have reservations about him.

"I think he is a great bowler, but I'm not sure how well he compares with spinners overall. I think people get carried away with the man's ability as he hardly ever bowled a good googly.

Subash Gupte, who passed away eight years ago

"To me, Shane Warne is a great turner of the ball. I like his aggressive attitude, I love the way he attacks batsmen and I give him 100 per cent for that as not enough spinners bowl with that approach, but in my estimation Subash Gupte was a better leg-spinner."

Sobers also has a dig at former England opener Geoff Boycott: "Geoffrey was a great player in his own style. He played within his limitations and didn't take too many chances with good balls or even half-good balls.

"Great players have to take good balls and turn them into bad balls, but Geoff never seemed to be able to do that."

Legendary umpire Dickie Bird is more concerned with the disappearance of cricket's rogues.

"Not as many players nowadays look as though they enjoy their cricket, like in previous eras," he writes.

"I used to love the camaraderie that I had with people like Ian Botham, Allan Lamb and David Gower.

"Don't get me wrong, although they used to enjoy a laugh and a joke, they were also fierce competitors and always out to win.

"I think the influx of vast amounts of money coming into the game is largely responsible for the significant loss of characters and entertainers that cricket was once able to boast plenty of."

Warne is now a television commentator and professional poker player. He scored 3000 Test runs and holds the record for the most test runs without a century. His brilliant career was marred by off-field scandals which led to a ban from the game for testing positive for prohibited substances and charges of bringing the game into disrepute through accepting money from Indian bookmakers and marital infidelity.

(With inputs from agencies and newspaper reports)

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