Can you imagine there was a player in the era of primitive ODI cricket , who could hit the fastest bowler in the world at that time, for a huge six of a Yorker on a middle stump to square leg boundary?
Can you imagine there was a player who could bat like Sehwag when needed and defend like Pujara if required?
Yes there was one guy who had all the batting skills of Hardik Pandya , all the grit of Virat Koli and match changing ability of Pant but did not find place in even a “Drawing Room of Fame”
He is none other than the man who left all of us yesterday suddenly. A fighter every team dreams having in -Yashpal Sharma.
He was not a small , ordinary, average , also run cricketer. He was not a ‘get him out quickly man’ type. He was a serious cricketer every captain would love to have in his team.
Some players just don’t have ‘ tall dark and handsome’ looks to become popular or eye soothing style to impress fans. But they deliver and stand alone like rock when turbulence is wrecking havoc.
They are solid and stable in every crisis. Unfortunately they lose the place in side after having one bad series. Their horoscope says ‘you will never get necessary support from media and selectors ‘
Pampering is the word not written in such player’s dictionary. But Survival and determination are defined as duty.
Yashpal was from Punjab and in those days of Mumbai dominance in cricket and sports media, non Mumbai men were considered as fluke performers.
All that changed after Kapil, Mohinder made their presence felt with scintillating cricket in ground. Of course Bedi was one of the few North Indians who ruled heart of every Indian with his mesmerizing art of spin bowling.
Coming back to Yash …I remember his innings against mighty attack of West Indies in 1983 world cup when he scored 80 odd and pulled out exceptional win to declare “India is not underdog but dark horse”
I remember Yash hitting Bob Willis Yorker out of ground . Bob was one of the fastest of all time and used to touch the boundary line every time he bowled not as a superstition but as a run-up to his lethal paced delivery.
I remember Yash completing second run before his partner could complete first while running between wickets.
I remember Yash staying on wicket whole day with Vishy.
I remember him saving match for India with Dilip Vengsarkar against Pakistan in 1979 series.
Yash was a no-nonsense cricketer and deserved more chances . His average of 30 odd in Test and ODI is not a real reflection of his worth and contribution to Indian cricket.
“He was vegetarian and quite particular about his diet? “said his those days teammate Kirti Azad while remembering him today.
He was a rare vegetarian Tiger.
“Are you not writing on Yashpal?’ Asked my friend Sushil yesterday while taking an evening walk.
“Who will read ? New generation is not interested in players of 80s” I gave him the a typical excuse.
But a thought lingered in my mind , which could not keep me quiet. I am happy I could at least write a small piece on an unsung Vegetarian Tiger of Indian cricket.
A sportsnasha exclusive
By Aju Deshpande