Many from the Indian cricket fraternity including Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman and Irfan Pathan among others paid tribute to the late cricketer. Sharma’s teammates from the 1983 World Cup were in complete disbelief. “It’s hard to come to terms with,” former captain Sunil Gavaskar told TOI
“It’s shocking, just unbelievable. I just met him in Gurgaon at an event to celebrate the anniversary of our ’83 World Cup triumph. He looked the fittest of the lot. I thought he would live for 100 years! He was a strict vegetarian, and never used to drink or smoke. He told me that he was only having soup for dinner these days, and had cut down on rice. He had a tee-totaller. controlled diet. He was a strong guy, basically a fitness freak,” former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar told TOI.
Sharma played 37 Tests and 42 ODIs for India, scoring 1,606 and 883 runs respectively. He made his ODI debut for India in 1978 against Pakistan in Sialkot. He also made his Test debut in 1979 against England at Lord's
Sharma was the second-highest run-getter in the 1983 World Cup for India. He made 89 in the league game against West Indies, which set the tone of the World Cup for India. Sharma was also the top-scorer for India in the semi-final against England with 61 as Kapil Dev’s men reached the final of the mega event.
The former cricketer played his last game international match in 1985, an ODI against England in Chandigarh. According to media reports, Sharma collapsed at home after returning from his morning walk. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.
Sharma was keen to watch the movie ‘83, a Bollywood film based on India’s maiden World Cup win, which has been delayed due to the pandemic.
--By A Cricket Correspondent