Yashpal Sharma, one of India’s heroes from the 1983 World Cup win, died of a cardiac arrest on the morning of Tuesday, the 13th of July in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
He was a gutsy and courageous middle order batsman who played 37 Tests and 42 ODIs for India between 1978 and 1985. He had an aggregate of 1606 runs with two hundreds at an average of 33.45 in Test cricket while scoring 883 runs at 28.48 with 4 fifties in ODI cricket. He is best remembered for his stellar performance in the 1983 World Cup.
We look at some unknown facts about Yashpal Sharma.
A Man For The Crisis
Yashpal Sharma was a man for the crisis as he displayed throughout his career. He gave his best when the chips were down under pressure when others around him had failed to deliver. None other than the great Sunil Gavaskar labelled him as the ‘Crisis Man’ for India.
One of his finest performances for the country which was also his highest score in ODIs came under pressure against two time World Cup winners West Indies in the 1983 World Cup at Old Trafford in Manchester. Coming out to bat at 76 for 3, Yashpal top-scored for India with a fine 89 off 120 deliveries against the likes of Holding, Roberts, Marshall and Garner. India won the match by 34 runs and it gave them the confidence and momentum to go all the way in the world tournament.
Down With STD
There is a very funny anecdote involving Yashpal Sharma. He had a peculiar accent and mannerism of talking and conversing and many of his teammates often did not get what he was trying to convey. Anshuman Gaekwad narrated an incident which sent everyone laughing in the dressing room. Yashpal had complained of a burning sensation and stated ‘STD ho gaya hai. Ye mujhe pehle kabhi nahin hua hai.’ Everyone was stunned. As it turned out he was complaining of ‘acidity’!
Chetan Sharma’s Uncle
Yashpal Sharma was actually related to former India medium-pace all-rounder Chetan Sharma and was his uncle. There was a 12-year gap between the two but interestingly they represented India together in two ODIs and in fact in one of them Yashpal took a catch off the bowling of Chetan to get rid of England’s Graeme Fowler.
A Sensation In School
Yashpal Sharma hammered a brilliant 260 for Punjab Schools against Jammu and Kashmir Schools in 1972. He received praise from a lot of quarters and soon made it to Punjab University for whom he again sparkled with a knock of 139. Yashpal made his Ranji Trophy debut for Punjab against Services at Jalandhar at an early age of 19 in 1973 and combined with Mohinder Amarnath to put up a magnificent partnership of 169 contributing 60 with the bat.
Taking On The Best Bowlers In The Country
Yashpal Sharma showed his class in the Duleep Trophy semi-final in 1977. He took North Zone to a win courtesy a magnificent 173 in the first innings against a potent South Zone attack comprising Abid Ali, Erapalli Prasanna and Bhagwath Chandrasekhar.
Indian Cricketer of the Year
Yashpal scored a heap of runs the next season after being overlooked by selectors despite his performances in domestic cricket. He had an aggregate of 762 runs at 76.20 and was named the Indian Cricketer of the Year.
Knocking On A Test Position For India
Yashpal continued on his merry ways and smashed an undefeated 135 for North Zone against the West Indies in 1979. The bowling attack of the visitors comprised of the likes of Vanburn Holder Malcolm Marshall. He then helped North Zone lift the Duleep Trophy title against the much fancied West Zone top-scoring in the first innings with 89. This was his gateway to the national team.
A Productive 1979-80 Season
Yashpal notched up his maiden Test hundred in his seventh Test - against Australia in Delhi. He almost took India to a sensational win in the next match at the Eden Gardens. Chasing a stiff 247, Yashpal hammered 85 off just 117 deliveries before bad light halted India’s quest for victory with the team total at 200 for 4.
The Colossal Partnership With Viswanath
Yashpal Sharma combined with the great Gundappa Viswanath and put together 316 for the third-wicket against England in Chennai in early 1982. Viswanath got a double ton and Yashpal scored 140. They were only the third Indian pair to remain unbeaten throughout a day’s play.
India’s 1983 World Cup Hero
Yashpal Sharma produced three significant innings for India in three big matches in the 1983 World Cup - that was his biggest legacy to Indian cricket. He top-scored for the team with a magnificent 89 off 120 deliveries bailing India out of a hole from 76 for 3 against two time World Cup winners West Indies. His aggressive 40 against Australia and gritty 61 against England played crucial roles in India winning those games. Yashpal scored 240 runs in the tournament at 34.28 as India went on to lift the World Cup.
Yashpal Sharma wore many hats for India during his cricketing journey. He was the national selector between 2003 and 2006 and supported Sourav Ganguly the captain against the then coach Greg Chappell. Later he became a national selector again in 2008. He had also been the coach of the Uttar Pradesh Ranji team.
Yashpal Sharma was a useful medium-pace bowler and picked 47 first-class wickets at an average of 33.7. He could also stand behind the stumps as wicket-keeper if needed.