Gundappa Viswanath recalls ‘rough cricketer’ Yashpal Sharma

Gundappa Viswanath vividly remembers that January afternoon in Chennai, when he assembled a 316-race stand with Yashpal Sharma. Against a star-studded English bowling team, India had lost its forerunners – Sunil Gavaskar and Pranab Roy – early on and an injury to Dilip Vengsarkar meant it was up to Viswanath and Sharma to stabilize the ship.

It was a tough task for sure, but Viswanath and Sharma had only one goal – to stay in the crease and help India bounce back in the fifth test in 1982. They hit throughout the game. on the second day, Sharma scoring 140 and Viswanath pounding 222.

READ: 1983 World Cup-winning cricketer Yashpal Sharma has died

“We fought all day. I can’t forget these innings because I didn’t expect to beat all day trial cricket because of my temper. We both played and had a massive partnership. Yashpal was a very good cricketer, a very good fielder and a team man at heart, ”said Viswanath. Sports star. Yashpal Sharma died of a heart attack on Tuesday morning.

Yashpal Sharma, Indian drummer crushes Graham Dilley of England bowler (not pictured) for a four. (January 15, 1982) – Hindu archives

“It was kind of an inflatable wicket and we lost the first few games early. After Dilip retired injured, we had to settle in and hit the road. We both discussed how to proceed. The idea was to stay a few hours and probably the pitch will be easy and the English bowlers (like Ian Botham, Bob Willis) will be tired. We had to be careful not to lose any more counters. We didn’t expect to play all day, but we could hold on and play our shots. Yashpal also played a magnificent and commanding end, ”said the former Indian batting legend.

Viswanath could not accept the fact that Sharma is no more. “This is terrible news. In our generation he was one of the fittest guys. I have never heard of his health problems. He was still in good shape and a very happy person. He was always energetic and always good with people. I didn’t expect our off-court partnership to end so soon… ”

Although Sharma had its ups and downs during his short international career (1979-83), he had a memorable outing in the 1983 World Cup where he scored 240 points, helping India reach the final and ultimately to win the title. Sharma’s 89 out of 120 balls against the West Indies in the group stage set the tone for India in the tournament, and he followed it with an aggressive 40 against Australia and a 61 against England in semi final.

“Even though I wasn’t on the World Cup squad, I was in England and had the opportunity to watch the semi-final between India and England, where Yashpal played a blow. Thanks to Indian team manager Man Singh (PR Man Singh), I also walked into the dressing room – at the time there weren’t that many restrictions – and looked at those innings. Yashpal played with authority when he faced Willis and Botham. It was a great run, and it’s one of its runs, which I will always remember because it paved the way for India to reach the final, ”said Viswanath.

Knowing Sharma for nearly five decades, Viswanath remembers him as a “serious” cricketer who never shied away from challenges. “He was extremely gritty on the pitch, but a happy man off the pitch. He loved to have fun and he could take any criticism and was extremely nice to people. He was totally the team man so it’s amazing we didn’t meet him again. I pray that God will give strength to his family, ”said Viswanath.

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