NEW DELHI :
INDIA’S 1983 World Cup hero Yashpal Sharma, who was admired for being a gutsy middle-order batsman at the peak of his prowess, died on Tuesday after suffering a massive cardiac arrest here. 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 team-mate of Yashpal confirmed to PTI. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those who condoled his demise. “Shri Yashpal Sharma Ji was a much beloved member of the Indian cricket team, including the legendary 1983 squad. He was an inspiration for teammates, fans as well as budding cricketers.
Anguished by his passing away,” Modi tweeted. According to sources, Yashpal collapsed at home after returning from his morning walk. In his international career, Yashpal 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. He was known for his gutsy attitude and his stroke-filled half century in the semi-final against England in the 1983 campaign at the Old Trafford will forever be etched in the public memory. He was also a national selector in early 2000s and was part of the panel which gave MS Dhoni his maiden India call-up in 2004. Yashpal was also part of the selection panel that picked the triumphant 2011 World Cup squad under Dhoni’s leadership.
So, from being a part of a World Cup winning to picking one that also won the trophy, Yashpal had seen it all. In between, he also witnessed closely a phase of immense turmoil in Indian cricket when the then captain Sourav Ganguly had a bitter fallout with the team’s Australian coach Greg Chappell in 2006. As a selector, he had famously backed Ganguly at that time. 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 later also became a sought after cricket analyst for TV channels.