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How Dilip Kumar helped ‘gutsy’ Punjab batsman Yashpal Sharma’s cricket career

Chandigarh/New Delhi, July 13

Indian cricket lost one of its gutsiest soldiers to a massive cardiac arrest on Tuesday.

Yashpal Sharma’s entry into the national reckoning as a gutsy Punjab batsman happened in the mid-’70s when late Dilip Kumar dropped in at the Mohan Meakin ground (Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad) to watch Punjab take on Uttar Pradesh.

Dilip Kumar passed away on 7 July, 2021. He was 98.

After Dilip saab’s demise, Yashpal recalled how the veteran actor came up to him and told him that he will speak to someone in Mumbai so that his talent was recognised.

Much later did he come to know that the thespian had mentioned his talent to his friend Raj Singh Dungarpur, one of the towering men of Indian cricket.


Yashpal, while speaking to Deccan Chronicle, travelled back in time to recall how late actor Dilip Kumar played a major role in his career.

“In fact, Yusuf Bhai (Dilip Kumar’s real name was Yusuf Khan) changed my life by uplifting my career. In the 1974-75 domestic season, he had come to the Mohan Nagar Ground in Delhi to watch the Punjab v UP Ranji knockout match. I had scored a hundred in both innings for Punjab and during our second innings, I noticed that some prominent personality had come in a car and was watching the match from a special seating area. I thought he must have been some top politician.”

“Later, Yusuf Bhai invited me for a chat and congratulated me for my century. ‘You have played an excellent game, I will recommend your name to someone,’ were his words. The next day, my photograph appeared alongside Yusuf Bhai in the newspapers, and I was stunned. Only later did I get to know that Yusuf Bhai went on to recommend me to the late Raj Singh Dungarpur, who was a prominent cricket administrator. Yusuf Bhai told Raj Singhji that I deserved to play for the country and my life was transformed thereafter,” remembered Sharma.