Former India cricketers, including the captain of the 1983 World Cup-winning team Kapil Dev, Syed Kirmani, and Kirti Azad, became emotional remembering their late teammate Yashpal Sharma during the screening of ’83’, the Kabir Khan film based on the country’s first – and perhaps biggest – cricketing triumph.
During the screening here on Friday, attended by several of ‘Kapil’s Devils’, there were misty eyes all across the theatre when Yashpal (played by Jatin Sarna in the movie) came on to blaze a 120-ball 89 that helped India defeat West Indies in the 1983 World Cup’s opening game at Manchester.
A minute’s silence was observed in the memory of Yashpal Sharma who died of a heart attack on July 13 this year at the age of 66.
Yashpal Sharma’s knock had helped India make 262/8 and go on to register a 34-run victory. That win in Manchester gave India the self-belief to go on and win the tournament. Yashpal played two more peerless knocks in the 1983 World Cup, scoring 40 against Australia and 61 against England. and aggregated 240 runs in eight games.
The right-handed batsman, who was the backbone of India’s middle-order in the 1983 World Cup, played 37 Tests (1,606 runs) and 42 ODIs (883 runs). He also played 160 first-class matches, representing Punjab, Haryana and the Railways, and scored 8,933 runs.
The last time ‘Kapil’s Devils’ had come together was on June 25 when the entire team, including Sharma, had gathered in Gurugram for the launch of ‘Opus’, a limited-edition book which captures the historic 1983 World Cup win.
Kapil broke down during a TV show in Mumbai when he was told about the demise of his teammate. “I can’t accept it … I love you Yash,” he had exclaimed. He then rushed to Delhi to pay his last respects.
Jatin Sarna, who plays Sharma in the movie, had told IANS on July 13, the day the legendary cricketer passed away, that he wanted to see the cricketer’s reaction to ’83’.
Recollecting his meeting with the cricketer, Sarna, who was last seen in ‘Sacred Games‘, had told IANS: “It was my turn to know about Yashpal sir and when I met him, he was very cool. That evening, I just silently observed him. The way he talks and walks. The next day we went for practice and he started teaching me his batting style and how he played his shots.”
Talking about the Yashpal Sharma death, Sarna had said: “More than anything, I am sad and disheartened. These are only two words I can associate with it right now. I was not expecting this. I had the responsibility of performing well earlier as well, but now it is my responsibility to put him back on the map. He is way bigger than me, but it’s my responsibility because people will go to the cinemas to see him.”