Yashpal Sharma
India's 1983 World Cup-winning cricketer Yashpal Sharma died due to a cardiac arrest on Tuesday.

Yashpal Sharma, a former India cricketer, passed away on Tuesday due to a heart arrest. After that performance in the World Cup final against the West Indies, everything else just sort of fell into place.

Marshall and I had an unusual friendship. The late Yashpal Sharma said while enjoying tea at the Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, that once he came in, the guy would hit him twice on the chest. After losing one of their most spirited cricketers due to a catastrophic cardiac attack, the next day saw memories of an affable individual such as Yashpal, someone who made light of himself even if it was to his detriment. He was like that connection between India’s dreadful record in One Day Internationals in the ’70s (the only time they reached the Cricket World Cup was in 1979 when they lost to Sri Lanka) and the rise to prominence in the following decade as world champions.

He was not as flashy as Sunil Gavaskar, not as stylish as Dilip Vengsarkar, and certainly did not have the grace and elegance of Gundappa Viswanath, but there was no denying that he was a complete gutterball.

Yashpal, who was born in Ludhiana, emerged as one of the archetypal domestic workhorses, who started from his school days as a cricketer and climbed the ladder to greatness.

Delhi and Mumbai were always anxious to get a wicket called Punjab’s batting superstar of the 1970s.

Erapalli Prasanna, BS Chandrasekhar, and S Venkataraghavan’s 173 in the Duleep Trophy final for North Zone versus South Zone made them notable.

With two hundred in 37 Tests, and under 30 in 42 ODI matches, these stats might not provide an accurate picture of the effect he made between 1980 and 1983, during which time he was regularly chosen in the middle order.

During multiple meetings with Yashpal, who was officiating games on the sidelines, it was notable how happy he was to have successfully stood up to Marshall’s collection of bone-rattling bouncers and 142-plus in-swing smashes.

You remember that 63 at Sabina Park Test in 1983 (just before the World Cup) where I scored, went away, then came back and discovered that Malcolm had received some quite significant blows. Malcolm was a really unique bowler; he was among the all-time greats. He would go on to say, “He was really intimidating.”

You always felt you were on even ground versus the West Indies attack.” In response to questions from a couple of journalists, including this writer, as to how it felt to face that quartet, he once said: “Your instincts just had to trust, and leave those deliveries as they were very rare.”

Yashpal, Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath, and Roger Binny all put in memorable performances at the World Cup, which means that their names and legacies are associated with the tournament as much as the legends like Yashpal and Kapil Dev.

At Tunbridge Wells, 175 not out from Kapil Dev is well-known to cricket fans and greatly celebrated by the BBC, as they deemed the game to be not significant enough to be shown life or even recorded for highlights. What took place on June 18, 1983, was reported on as planned.

However, few people recall that the 32-run victory in the World Cup opener for India at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, thanks to Yashpal Sharma’s 89, helped set the tone for the rest of the tournament.

I kept reaching out to BBC to make sure they had a video of that game. I was prepared to pay at least 5000 pounds to anyone who would simply provide me with a recording of that game.”

He claimed his one-day career-best was his innings of 89 runs off only 120 balls in a Test against the West Indies that featured Michael Holding, Marshall, Andy Roberts, and Joel Garner.

On that day, Roger (Binny) supported me a lot, and as I recall, we had reached around 250 just before we stopped.” This is great for bowlers, who had something to bowl at. We won that match and the award was incredibly memorable. During the victory celebration, you could hear the stories of 1983 repeating in a never-ending loop.

The innings that made him iconic in the minds of fans of ’80s cricket was his 61 not out in the semi-final versus England.

Yashpal made an indelible mark on the minds of Indian supporters when he played in that crucial World Cup encounter in which India was facing elimination.

Yash was a classic old-school Test player, highly systematic.” That day, he accomplished something Viv Richards would have been proud of. South Zone teammate Kirti Azad coughed while speaking to PTI.

Six others were in position, getting in close to Paul Allott’s leg stump, and smacking him hard.

Azad could only reflect and say, “And how can I forget the way he took on ‘Ravi Jadeja’ like that from short mid-wicket to the non-end striker’s to have Allan Lamb, while I was bowling?”

That other inning of his which is seldom remembered was a seven-six for three against New Zealand’s left-arm pacer Gary Troupe in the first game of the 1980 series at Adelaide.

Not a terrible time to view some clips from Channel Nine on YouTube.

Even though he only entered the spotlight when Dilip Kumar dropped in at the Mohan Meakin Ground (Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad) to watch his state play Uttar Pradesh, Yashpal’s arrival on the national stage as a gutsy Punjab batsman started in the 1970s when Dilip Kumar paid a visit to the ground in the northeast of the city (Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad).

The recent passing of Dilip Sahab caused Yashpal to recall when Dilip Saab came up to him and informed him that he had someone in Mumbai who could help him get a proper appreciation for his talents.

It was only afterward that he realized that the thespian had told his friend Raj Singh Dungarpur, one of the towering figures in Indian cricket, about his talents.

He was incredibly proud of his role in choosing a new player and captain named Mahendra Singh Dhoni to lead Bangladesh on a tour of the country in 2004 and his position as the North Zone selector when India returned to the world cup in 2011.

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After being asked if he was gaming in an exhibition game, he sarcastically responded: “Absolutely, but would you mind also calling an ambulance because every one of these guys is 60+ years old and their knees, hamstrings, and backs are all questionable.”

There will always be role models like Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev, but everyone requires a strong ally like Yashpal Sharma.

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