Former India cricketer Yashpal Sharma dies of heart attack
He was 66 and is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. The former Punjab cricketer was regarded as a gifted middle-order batsman. In a career spanning from 1979 to 1983, Yashpal played 37 Tests for India and scored 1606 runs with two centuries and nine fifties. Yashpal made his debut in 1979 against England and added substance to the Indian middle order.
Yashpal first hogged limelight when he scored 260 for Punjab schools against Jammu & Kashmir schools in 1972. Within two years, he was in the state team and a member of the North Zone team that won the Vizzy Trophy. His first major innings in first-class cricket was a 173 in the Duleep Trophy for North, against the South Zone which had Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna, and Venkataraghavan.
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.