India’s cricket fraternity was in shock and disbelief as it mourned the death of 1983 World Cup hero Yashpal Sharma on Tuesday (July 13), paying glowing tributes to the former batsman with his teammates from that historic triumph breaking down while remembering him. Yashpal, a former middle-order batsman, died on Tuesday after suffering a massive cardiac arrest here. He was 66 and is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.
Captain of the 1983 team Kapil Dev broke down when news agency PTI contacted him and could only say, “I won’t be able to speak.”
Yashpal’s other teammates were as shocked. The 1983 squad had met on the sidelines of a book launch here a couple of weeks ago. Former spinner Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who was a part of that team, said he is heartbroken in a choked voice.
“Shocking, this is the worst news that I have received. It is like ... 83 team is like a family, one of our family members is no more, it is so shocking,” Sandhu said.
Kirti Azad, another member of the 1983 team, also paid glowing tributes to his former teammate. “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 Windies with that quartet of fast bowlers, he set the agenda and we won that game,” he said.
“He was again fantastic in the semifinal, hitting Bob Willis for a six.”
Tributes poured in for Yashpal on social media too with sports minister and former BCCI President Anurag Thakur among those offering condolences. “Saddened by the passing away of ace cricketer & 1983 World Cup winning member Sh Yashpal Sharma,” Thakur wrote on his twitter handle.
“He had an illustrious career & was India's second-highest run getter at the 1983 World Cup. He was also an umpire and national selector. His contribution won't be forgotten.”
Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar also expressed his disbelief at the death. “Shocked and deeply pained by the demise of Yashpal Sharma ji. Have fond memories of watching him bat during the 1983 World Cup.
“His contribution to Indian cricket shall always be remembered. My sincere condolences to the entire Sharma family,” Tendulkar wrote on his twitter handle.
Shocked and deeply pained by the demise of Yashpal Sharma ji. Have fond memories of watching him bat during the 1983 World Cup. His contribution to Indian cricket shall always be remembered.
My sincere condolences to the entire Sharma family. pic.twitter.com/WBQ6ng2x8I
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 13, 2021
BCCI secretary Jay Shah said Yashpal was a key contributor to India's maiden World Cup triumph. “Shocked and pained to learn about the sudden demise of Shri Yashpal Sharma. He will always be remembered for his knock of 89 runs against West Indies, which provided impetus to India's world cup journey in 1983 and his overall contribution for #TeamIndia,” he wrote.
Former India cricketers took to the micro-blogging site to pay their homage. “Shocking to hear about the passing of Yashpal sharma. One of the heroes of our first World Cup win. Condolences to his family and friends,” former skipper and leg-spinner Anil Kumble wrote.
Shocking to hear about the passing of Yashpal sharma. One of the heroes of our first World Cup win. Condolences to his family and friends.
— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) July 13, 2021
Former India opener Virender Sehwag also expressed his sadness. “So sorry to hear about #YashpalSharma Paaji's passing away, one of the heroes of our 1983 WC win. Heartfelt condolences,” he tweeted.
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) July 13, 2021
Former all-rounder Yuvraj Singh wrote: “Very sad news of the untimely demise of Yashpal Sharma paaji. May his soul rest in peace. My condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Very sad news of the untimely demise of Yashpal Sharma paaji. May his soul rest in peace. My condolences to his family and loved ones #YashpalSharma
— Yuvraj Singh (@YUVSTRONG12) July 13, 2021
Former seamer Irfan Pathan wrote: “Shocked to hear about the passing away of a World Cup winner, Yashpal Sharma ji ! He served as an Indian selector too. Condolences to his family.”
In his international career, Yashpal, who was also a national selector during early part of 2000s, played 37 Tests, scoring 1606 runs, and 42 ODIs in which he made 883. He also picked up one wicket each in the two formats to his credit.
(with PTI inputs)