New Delhi: India's cricket fraternity was in shock and disbelief as it mourned the death of 1983 World Cup hero Yashpal Sharma on Tuesday, paying glowing tributes to the former batsman with his teammates from that historic triumph breaking down while remembering him.
Yashpal, a former middle-order batsman, died on Tuesday after suffering a massive cardiac arrest here. He was 66 and is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.
Captain of the '83 team Kapil Dev broke down when contacted him and could only say, "I won't be able to speak."
Yashpal's other teammates were as shocked. The 1983 squad had met on the sidelines of a book launch here a couple of weeks ago.
"It is unbelievable. He was the fittest among all of us. I had asked him that day when we met how about his routine. He was a vegetarian, teetotaller, used to have soup for his dinner and very particular about his morning walks. I am just shocked," former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar, said, reacting to the tragic development.
Former spinner Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who was a part of that team, said he is heartbroken in a choked voice.
"...we had three tours together and there are a lot of memories, which I cannot speak right now. I am so saddened by this news. But we will all miss him, that is for sure. I'll pray for his soul to rest in peace," he said.
Former Indian captain Kris Srikkanth said he has lost a friend.
"He was one of the main heroes who helped us lift the 1983 World Cup. I have great memories of playing with him. My condolences to his family.
Kirti Azad, another member of the 1983 team, also paid glowing tributes to his former teammate.
"He told me that day we met that I had lost weight. We had a great reunion. I remember the very first game in the 1983 world Cup playing the mighty Windies with that quartet of fast bowlers, he set the agenda and we won that game," he said.
Azad also remembered Yashpal's on-field athleticism.
"Nowadays people say (Ravindra) Jadeja hits stumps regularly but so did Yashpal. He was a live wire on the field and would hit stumps all the time. He was the guy who was always on the look out for doing something or the other in the field."
Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar also expressed his disbelief at the death.