Yashpal Sharma, the man who started India's 1983 World Cup campaign with a bang
- Yashpal Sharma passes away: Yashpal Sharma was India’s top scorer in the group stage match against defending champions West Indies in 1983 World Cup. He scored 89 off 120 deliveries which helped India win.
Yashpal Sharma, a member of India’s 1983 World Cup-winning squad, passed away on Tuesday morning due to a cardiac arrest, leaving the Indian cricketing fraternity into mourning. The always energetic Yashpal Sharma was known for his unshakable courage that in the late 70s and early 80s provided strength to the Indian middle order.
The right-hander, who also served as a member of India’s selection committee in the early part of 2000s, had first forced the pundits to take a note when he slammed 260 while representing Punjab schools against Jammu and Kashmir in 1972.
Subsequent performances for Punjab and North Zone in domestic cricket earned him a spot in the Indian Test side for the Pakistan tour in 1978 although he did not get to play a match.
The 1979 England tour was a breakthrough moment in Yashpal’s career. He did not score heaps of runs in the three Tests that he played but his stubbornness and never say die attitude was one of the highlights of India’s middle-order.
After getting a pair in India’s next home series against Australia, Yashpal slammed his maiden hundred in Delhi in the fourth Test.
Yashpal’s biggest contribution was however the twin half-centuries in the 1983 World Cup.
He was India’s top scorer in the group stage match against defending champions West Indies. Yashpal scored 89 off 120 deliveries which included 9 fours. His innings helped India put up challenging score of 262 while batting first in Manchester.
The target turned out to be more than enough for even the strong West Indies side as India staged a huge upset and beat the reigning champions by 34 runs, which many believe gave the Kapil Dev-led side belief to go all the way in the tournament.
The right-hander was not done. He reserved his best in the semifinal against England. India were chasing a target of 214 and had lost Sunil Gavaskar and Krisnamachari Srikant for 50 on board when Yashpal walked in.
WATCH: Yashpal Sharma's 61 vs England in 1983 World Cup semifinal
The right-hander played with authority and scored 61 off 115 balls with three fours and two sixes. His twin partnerships – first with Mohinder Amarnath and then with Sandip Patil – were one of the main reasons behind India’s six-wicket win.
Yashpal scored 240 runs in 8 matches in the 1983 World Cup, which India went on to win after beating West Indies in the final at Lord’s.
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 the highest score of 201 not out.