Everyone talks about the 1983 world cup finals where India defeated the mighty West Indies. People also talk about the 175 runs scored by Kapil against Zimbabwe in that world cup. But very few people talk about how India defeated the same West Indian team in the league matches in that same world cup.
Facing a mighty Caribbean bowling attack that consisted of the likes of Holding, Marshall, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner and Larry Holmes, the Indians started on a slow pace. Every Indian batsmen made a slow start; but none of them could score more than 40 runs.
Here was an ordinary Indian lad who faced bouncers from Malcolm Marshal and even started hitting boundaries. By the end of 60 overs, India had scored 262 runs. No other Indian batsman could score even a single boundary. But this man hit 9 glorious boundaries for his knock of 89 off 120 balls. That was the best knock by an Indian batsman against the mighty West Indians till that date. He was none other than Yashpal Sharma.
He was also the highest scorer for India against the powerful Aussies in their last league game of that world cup where India crushed them.
Even in the semifinals, while chasing a nominal score of 213 against the Englishmen, it was Yashpal who top scored with a brilliant 61 and made it sure that India entered the finals. Today he is no more.
There was no man of the series award in the 1983 world cup. But because of his continuous man of match awards, Mohinder Amarnath is often seen as the player of that series. And Kapil for his catch in the finals, is seen as the man who changed the course of the match in the final. The performances of Mohinder Amarnath and Kapil Dev can be compared to the performances of Yuvaraj Singh and Dhoni of the 2011 world cup.
In my personal opinion Gambhir was the dark horse of the 2011 world cup and the dark horse of the 1983 world cup for India was Yashpal Sharma.