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Former Indian cricket star who played for Armagh dies aged 66

World Cup winner Yashpal Sharma inspired a generation of players at NI club


World Cup winner Yashpal Sharma inspired a generation of players at Armagh Cricket Club

World Cup winner Yashpal Sharma inspired a generation of players at Armagh Cricket Club

World Cup winner Yashpal Sharma inspired a generation of players at Armagh Cricket Club

A world-renowned Indian international cricketer who joined a Co Armagh club during the 1980s has been described as a player of “wisdom, class and experience” after passing away.

Yashpal Sharma, best known as an integral part of the Indian World Cup-winning team in 1983, died yesterday at the age of 66.

India went up against the West Indies, which had won the previous two Cricket World Cups, at Lords in what was their first ever final. The India team’s victory is widely hailed as a watershed moment for the country’s cricket game.

The cricket fraternity globally has paid tributes to the late cricket star, who is reported to have suffered a cardiac arrest.

Mr Sharma played for Armagh Cricket Club between 1988 and 1990 during which he played 52 games, achieved 50 innings, 2,315 runs and 106 wickets over three years.

In a statement, Armagh Cricket Club said Mr Sharma had contributed greatly to the team during his time there, describing his international sporting career as “outstanding”.

The club said he arrived in Northern Ireland when players from other countries could more easily play here.

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"It is impossible in the current world of cricket for a World Cup winner to play on the Mall five years after winning the World Cup with the nature of the game, the Home Office red tape and the registration issues with the Union,” it read.

"But back then all sorts of top class international players played locally for clubs around Northern Ireland.”

Outlining Mr Sharma’s record at Armagh, the club continued: “In his three years at Armagh he scored over two thousand runs at an average of 77 and took over 100 wickets at a stunning average below 12.

"[The year] 1989 in particular was a brutal year as Yashpal scored a majestic 1,010 runs at an average of 101, scoring three centuries.”

The statement, posted on Facebook, said the cricketer’s impact went far beyond his performance on the pitch, and is one that has endured.

“Much more than that, off the field Yashpal totally invigorated our coaching and development set-up and helped to encourage some of the greatest players in Armagh’s recent history, with Mark Elliott, David Bullick, Gareth and David Robinson, the Cairns brothers, Andrew Rennie and Colly Russell to name just a few who took great benefit from the wisdom, class and experience of Yashpal Sharma.”

Mr Sharma played played 37 Tests and 42 one day internationals for his home country between 1978 and 1985.

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said in a Twitter tribute that the batsman, whose full name was Shri Yashpal Sharma Ji was “a much beloved member of the Indian cricket team, including the legendary 1983 squad”.

"He was an inspiration for teammates, fans as well as budding cricketers. Anguished by his passing away. Condolences to his family and admirers,” said the leader.

The star, who is to be portayed by an actor in an upcoming Bollywood film about the 1983 Cricket World Cup victory, is survived by his wife Pratibha and three children.

Armagh Cricket Club said their thoughts are with the Sharma family at this sad time.

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