Former TT Cricket Board executive member Dr Allen Sammy said Indian cricket legend Subhash Gupte had a huge impact on local cricket when he moved to TT in the twilight os his career. Sammy said Gupte motivated cricketers from rural clubs to believe in themselves and strive for greatness.
Sammy was speaking at a book launch to remember the life of Gupte and his wife Carol, at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain, yesterday. The book, written by Subhash's and Carol's daughter Carolyn, is called Love Without Boundaries – The 49-year Partnership of Subhash and Carol Gupte.
The ex-leg- spinner Subhash, who played 36 Test matches for India from 1952 to 1961, settled in Trinidad after marrying Carol. He also played for TT to wind down his career.
Carolyn said, "The 112-page novel, which chronicles the romantic adventures of my parents Subhash and Carol Gupte, follows a journey through the decades that brings together the islands of TT and India through romance and the sport of cricket." Carolyn's father died in 2002 and her mother in 2014.
Carolyn fondly reflected on the discussions about India and West Indies cricket at their home. "His constant teasing with my mother in what he saw at the time was the gradual decline of West Indies supremacy and the subsequent rise of India's dominance of the game provided many amusing and lively debates between them. He loved this game with boundless passion and enjoyed sharing his stories and giving advice to the many young visiting cricketers, usually from team India, who made the almost holy pilgrimage to our home. At the end of the day, however, daddy remained, first and foremost, a family man. If one were to ask him to name his three great loves, he would say unequivocally: his wife, his family and lastly, his cricket."
Sammy spoke about Subhash's devotion to local cricket, especially in south Trinidad with Usine Cricket Club. "He made a contribution to south cricket and TT's cricket. I asked one of his colleagues Aaron John, who played with him for years, because Subhash captained Usine for maybe ten years, what is it was outstanding about Subhash Gupte? He said Subhash had a very simple rule of thumb, he forced them through speech and through action, to aspire to greater heights on the field of play."
Sammy said Subhash would motivate his club-mates when they faced the daunting task of playing at the Queen's Park Oval. "Very importantly, what he did he inspired the people around him in his club and they were a community club and a rural club. When rural clubs came to play here they played in great awe...he then put in them that you are equal to anybody or even better."
Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar, present for the Indian tour of the Caribbean, said, "Subhash Gupte was a legend."
Gavaskar, who remembered the humility of Subhash, got the opportunity to interact with Subhash in Trinidad when he started playing for India in the early 1970s.
Gavaskar said Subhash was the the liaison officer for the Indian team when they came to Trinidad. "The way he looked after the Indian team was amazing. He was a legend, and you know how in India a legend tends to think that they would not do the things like getting water for the players. Legends would say, 'That is not my job, that is the job of the dressing room attendant. Not my job.' (He) would get water for you. If anybody wanted anything he would be running to make sure the players were comfortable, the players did not have to worry about anything. That was such an awesome experience to see a legend running around."
The book is available at all leading book stores in TT.