Former India cricketer and 1983 World Cup winner Yashpal Sharma has died of massive cardiac arrest on Tuesday (July 13), news agency PTI reported quoting family sources. In a glittering cricket career, spanning over the late 70’s and the 80’s, The 66-year-old former Punjab cricketer, who was born in Ludhiana on August 11, 1954, was regarded as a gifted middle-order batsman. In 37 Tests he played for India – debut in 1979 against England – Yashpal scored 1,606 runs with two centuries (top score of 140) and nine fifties to his name at an average of over 33.
He was 66 and is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. “Yes, Yashpal is no more with us. We just received the information from his family,” a former India teammate of Yashpal confirmed to news agency PTI.
Devastating news of the passing of Yash Paaji. He was one of the hero's of 1983 World Cup winning team and was a very affable person. Heartfelt condolences to the family. Thoughts and Prayers. Om Shanti pic.twitter.com/k4EB3fz0fU
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) July 13, 2021
He was known for his gutsy attitude and his stroke-filled half century in the semifinal against England in the 1983 campaign at the Old Trafford will forever be etched in the public memory. He was also a national selector during early part of 2000.
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 news agency 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.
(with PTI inputs)