Bob Willis had abused Yashpal Sharma during his tour of India. Yashpal was desperate to take his revenge. He hit Bob Willis for fours.
Yashpal Sharma scored a brilliant 61 against England in the semi-final of the 1983 World Cup.
The morning of July 13 brought bad news for cricket fans. Yashpal Sharma, a member of the 1983 World Cup team, passed away. There were countless opportunities to meet and interact with Yashpal ji as a sports journalist. He had no qualms in telling tales. Yashpal ji used to tell a very interesting anecdote about the 1983 World Cup. Used to say- “Actually no one expected that India would reach the final of the 1983 World Cup”. I asked why so he told the whole story. Actually, Mohinder Amarnath and Yashpal Sharma were batting in a very sluggish manner against England in the semi-final. It seemed that India’s journey in the World Cup was about to come to a halt. India needed 214 runs to win. Sunil Gavaskar and Srikanth both returned to the pavilion after adding 50 runs on the scoreboard. Mohinder Amarnath and Yashpal Sharma were batting very leisurely at the crease.
This is a matter of those days when ODI matches used to be of 60 overs and there used to be tea time too. When Mohinder Amarnath and Yashpal Sharma reached the dressing room at tea time, the whole team was in a tizzy. Yashpal and Amarnath understood that the players were annoyed by his sluggish batting. In such a situation, Amarnath immediately went to Captain Kapil Dev and told that he should not worry at all, he knows what he is doing. Amarnath said that he and Yashpal only wanted that no other wicket of the team fell till T-time. Captain Kapil Dev knew that what Mohinder Amarnath was saying, he was saying it thoughtfully.
When Mohinder and Yashpal changed batting gear
After T-time, when Mohinder Amarnath and Yashpal Sharma came to the crease again, the match looked like a revenge. Mohinder Amarnath sent Ian Botham straight across the boundary and Yashpal Sharma made Bob Willis sweat. The interesting anecdote before this is that Bob Willis had abused Yashpal Sharma during his tour of India. Yashpal was desperate to take his revenge. He hit Bob Willis for fours. Bob Willis was one of the dangerous bowlers of that era. But Yashpal Sharma had also decided what to do. A total of three sixes were hit by India in that match. Out of this, only 2 sixes were hit by Yashpal Sharma.
Yashpal stood firm on Amarnath out
When Amarnath got out, India needed 75 more runs to win and there were a good number of overs left. Yashpal Sharma was still standing at the crease. When Amarnath got out, India’s score was 142 for 3 wickets. That is, there was a partnership of about 100 runs between Amarnath and Yashpal Sharma. Which may not have been very fast but was necessary for the team’s victory.
Yashpal out, taking the team closer to victory
After Amarnath’s dismissal, Sandeep Patil came to the ground. He batted brilliantly. He scored 51 runs in just 32 balls. Yashpal Sharma was supporting him at the other end of the wicket. Yashpal Sharma batted for about two and a half hours in the semi-final match. Together with Sandeep Patil, he also took India’s score beyond 200. Yashpal Sharma got out when the victory was very close. Interestingly, his wicket was taken by Bob Willis. But by that time India’s score was 205 runs and victory was just 9 runs away.
Yashpal Sharma was the top scorer in the semi-finals
Yashpal Sharma scored the highest 61 runs for India in that match. India’s victory was now confirmed. Winning shot came off the bat of Sandeep Patil. Mohinder Amarnath also took 2 wickets. That’s why he was given the man of the match for his all-round performance. He scored 46 runs as well as took 2 wickets. After this, on 25 June 1983, India created history by defeating West Indies at Lord’s. The history that will always be fresh in the hearts and minds of cricket fans. Regrettably, today a character in that history is gone.
Also read: Viv Richards hit 4 consecutive sixes in the over, the flop show against Pakistan gave a blow, this veteran of Team India died