Yashpal Sharma, a player of the Indian Cricket Team which won the World Cup in 1983, passed away on the 13th of July, Wednesday.
Mr. Sharma, 66 years old, died due to cardiac arrest. He was the middle-order batter and played 37 Test matches and 42 one day internationals (ODIs) for India between 1978 and 1985. He was also the second highest run getter in India’s historic 1983 World Cup win, as he scored 100 runs, an 89 runs in India’s win over West Indies and 61 in the semi-final against England.
In his first-class career that spanned nearly two decades (20 years) Yashpal Sharma scored 8,933 runs, with 21 centuries and 46 half centuries. Post retirement, he remained actively involved in coaching, commentary and cricket administration. He served as a national selector across two stints, first from 2004 to 2005, and later from 2008 to 2011. He was also a part of the committee that picked India’s 2011 World Cup winning squad.
The sudden demise of Yashpal Sharma left his co players in shock. Dilip Vengsarkar said, “It is unbelievable. He was the fittest among all of us. I had asked him that day, when we met, 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.” He said, “As a player, he was a proper team man and a fighter. I fondly remember the 1979 Test against Pakistan in Delhi. We had a partnership that helped us save the game. I knew him since my university days. Still can’t believe it.”
Kirti Azad, another member of that 1983 team, had also met him last month. He said, “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.”
Another member of the 1983 World Cup squad, Balwinder Sandhu said, “The ’83 team is like a family, one of our family members is no more, it is so shocking.” He further added, “The media may not have given him that kind of credit that he should have been given. But he gave 100% all the time, played to win the game, and even while fielding – he was brilliant in the field.”
Highlighting the early life of Yashpal Sharma, he was born in Ludhiana and represented Punjab, Haryana and Railways in the domestic circuit. He first came into national contention in 1977, when he made a match-winning 173 for North Zone in the Duleep Trophy final.
Yashpal Sharma is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.