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 teammate of Yashpal confirmed to PTI.
According to sources, Yashpal collapsed at home after returning from his morning walk here.
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 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 2000s.
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.