Former India cricketer and one of the heroes of the 1983 World Cup win, Yashpal Sharma died on Tuesday (July 13) morning due to a cardiac arrest. He was 66. Yashpal suffered a heart attack after returning from morning walk and collapsed at around 7.30 am at his residence in Noida. Yashpal was India’s second-highest scorer of the 1983 World Cup with an aggregate of 240 runs from 8 innings at an average of 34.28.
Yashpal played 37 Tests and 42 ODIs in an international career that spanned seven years from 1978. He made 1606 runs in Tests with two centuries and 883 runs in ODIs.
He was a big match performer for India in the World Cup 1983. Yashpal was the top-scorer in the semifinal against England, making a crucial, patient 61 off 115 deliveries. India were chasing a tricky 214 from 60 overs, and were 50 for 2. Yashpal curbed his natural aggressive stroke-play, kept the likes of Willis and Botham and the home-crowd at bay and put together a match-winning 92-run partnership with Amarnath before. He then sealed the match with another 63-run stand with Sandeep Patil.
Yashpal’s run-a-ball 40 in the previous match, a virtual knockout against Australia, was crucial too. He had also made 89 in India’s tournament opener against West Indies to set up a win.
Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar expressed shock at his teammate’s demise. The 1983 squad had met on the sidelines of a book launch here couple of weeks ago.
“It is unbelievable. He was the fittest among all of us. I had asked him that day when we met how about his routine. He was a vegetarian, teetotaller, used to have soup for his dinner and very particular about his morning walks. I am just shocked," Vengsarkar told PTI.
“As a player, he was a proper team man and a fighter. I fondly remember the 1979 Test against Pakistan in Delhi. We both had a partnership which helped us save the game. I knew him since my university days. Still can’t believe it," he added.
In Ranji Trophy, where he represented three teams — Punjab, Haryana and Railways -, Yashpal played 160 matches amassing 8,933 runs which included 21 centuries with a highest score of 201 not out.
He was an umpire too and stood in a couple of women’s ODIs. The multi-faceted former player also served as coach of the Uttar Pradesh Ranji team.
“He told me that day we met that I had lost weight. We had a great reunion. I remember the very first game in the 1983 World Cup playing the mighty West Indies with those fast bowlers, he set the agenda and we won that game," said former teammate Kirti Azad.
“He was again fantastic in the semifinal hitting Bob Willis for a six. Nowadays people say (Ravindra) Jadeja hits stumps regularly but so did Yashpal. He was a livewire on the field and would hit stumps all the time," he recalled.