K. Srikkanth was not only Yashpal Sharma’s teammate during the triumphant World Cup campaign in 1983 but also worked with the late batsman as a selector that put together the 2011 Indian World Cup winning team.
In a chat with Sportstar, Srikkanth provided rare insight into Yashpal, the cricketer and the person.
Srikkanth said, “I am shocked beyond words at Yashpal’s sudden death. In fact we all met in New Delhi on June 25 for the 1983 World Cup book launch and he was in perfect health. My heart goes out to his family.”
Srikkanth revealed, “We, the team members of the 1983 World Cup, have a Whatsapp group called ‘Forever Champions’ and Yashpal was a prominent member of that. Now we have lost him, but Forever Champions is eternal.”
The Chennai dasher recalled, “Yashpal was a pure vegetarian and was very fond of almonds. So when he played a stroke, we used to call it ‘Badam Shot.’”
Remembering Yashpal’s key role in the 1983 World Cup, Srikkanth said, “His battling 89 against the West Indies in Manchester enabled us to shock the Caribbeans in our first game of the competition.”
Srikkanth reminiscenced, “Who can forget the manner he stepped down and then swung, Bob Willis, for a six over fine leg in the semifinal. Or the manner in which he struck Paul Allott for a straight six. A wonderful fielder, his run-out of Allan Lamb was sensational in that last four clash.”
The former India captain said, “Yashpal’s 140 at Chepauk against England in 1982, in the same innings where G.R. Vishwanath made a double hundred, was an outstanding Test innings. He employed the slog sweep very well.”
The former India opener said, “I used to head the National selection committee and he was always frank and forthright with his views. We got along well.”
Srikkanth observed, “A fighter with the bat, a terrific fielder and a fine man, we will all miss our dear Yashpal.”