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Baloo Gupte, the former Indian legspinner, has died this morning after a prolonged illness. The 70-year-old Baloo, the younger brother of Subash, the legendary Indian legspinner, was suffering from cancer for the last few years. He is survived by his wife, a son and daughter.
Born on August 30, 1934, Baloo played three Tests for India between 1961 and 1965, all at home, and managed to pick up only three wickets. He made his debut against Pakistan at Madras in 1960-61 - ironically replacing his brother Subash, who was dropped - but had a miserable baptism when he conceded 116 runs in 35 overs and finished wicketless. He played his third and last Test four years later against New Zealand.
But he was a colossal presence in the domestic circuit, when he played for Mumbai, Bengal, and Railways, and one of the leading wicket-takers in the Ranji Trophy of his time (he finished with 255 Ranji wickets at 23.47). His 9 for 55 for West Zone against South Zone in the 1962-63 Duleep Trophy final is still the best in the competition. He ended with 417 wickets in 99 first-class games at an average of 24.88, including a staggering 26 five-wickets hauls and five ten-wicket hauls.