11 August 1954 |
Ludhiana, Punjab, India
|Bowling style||Right arm medium|
|Role||Batsman, occasional wicket-keeper, umpire|
|Relations||Chetan Sharma (nephew)|
|Test debut (cap 145)||2 August 1979 v England|
|Last Test||3 November 1983 v West Indies|
|ODI debut (cap 26)||13 October 1978 v Pakistan|
|Last ODI||27 January 1985 v England|
|Domestic team information|
|Source: ESPNCricinfo, 30 September 2008|
Yashpal Sharma first drew attention 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. But he missed the tour to Australia that followed immediately afterwards.
A 99 runout in the Irani Trophy the next year got Sharma a place in the team to Pakistan a few weeks later. He played two one day matches in the tour. He went to England in 1979 as a part of the team that played in the World Cup. He did not play in any match but appeared in three Tests in the series that followed. He scored 884 runs at an average of 58 in the tour matches.
His form in England assured him of a Test place in the next few games. After scoring a pair against Australia in the Kanpur Test, Sharma scored his first Test hundred in the very next match. He could have scored another in the next Test at Calcutta, but with 3.4 overs still left before the end of the Test, he appealed against light. Through the 1979–80 season, Sharma played a series of steady but unexceptional innings where he often played a supportive role to a senior batsman. He was basically a defensive batsman but could hit very hard when needed.
He made his highest first class score against Victoria in 1980–81, a 465-minute 201*. In the Adelaide Test of that series, Sharma hit 47 and 147 with Sandeep Patil. This was his only innings of some consequence in the tour and he was soon dropped. On his comeback, at Madras in 1981–82, he hit 140. He batted through the second day of the match with Gundappa Viswanath and their third wicket partnership contributed 316 runs. At Port of Spain next year, he was struck on the head by Malcolm Marshall and forced to retire.
After a few ordinary performances, Sharma was picked for the Indian team for the 1983 World Cup. But the Indian win provided him with some of his finest moments. In the opening match he top scored with 89 as India caused West Indies their first defeat in a world cup match. In the semifinal against England he again top scored with 61 – a flick over square leg for six off a near yorker from Bob Willis being a memorable shot.
Back home, he failed completely against the touring Pakistanis. In the three-day match for North Zone against the West Indians at Amritsar, he hit Viv Richards for four consecutive sixes. But two more failures in the international matches against them virtually ended his career. He appeared in four one day matches against England the next year and scored more than ten in only one.
Sharma left Punjab and joined Haryana in 1987–88. He spent another two years with Railways. At the age of 37, he was still good enough to score hundreds in consecutive matches in 1991 – 92.
After he retired from the game, he became an umpire for a time, and has also been a selector for the Indian national team. Yashpal was the uncle of Chetan Sharma who went on to represent India.
- Cricketarchive and the current version of Cricinfo supply no middle name for Sharma. But a middle name 'Baburam' appears in an older version of Cricinfo (which can be found via google), Indian Cricket and Sujit Mukherjee.
- Sujit Mukherjee, Matched Winners, Orient Longman publishers (1996), p 152-164