Vasant Raiji, who was India’s oldest first-class cricketer at 100, died within the early hours of Saturday. Raiji was 100 years old and is survived by his wife and two daughters. “He (Raiji) passed away at 2.20 am in his sleep at his residence in Walkeshwar in South Mumbai because of old age,” his son-in-law Sudarshan Nanavati told PTI. Raiji, a right-handed batsman, played nine first-class matches within the 1940s, scoring 277 runs with 68 being his highest score.
He made his debut for a Cricket Club of India team that played Central Provinces and Berar in Nagpur in 1939.
His Mumbai debut happened in 1941 when the team played Western India under the leadership of Vijay Merchant.
Former India batting great Sachin Tendulkar and therefore the Board of Control for Cricket in India paid tribute to Raiji on Twitter.
“I met Shri Vasant Raiji earlier this year to celebrate his 100th birthday. His warmth and passion for playing and watching Cricket was endearing.
His passing away saddens my heart. My condolences to his family & friends.“
Raiji, also a cricket historian and accountant, was 13 when India played its first test match at the Bombay Gymkhana in south Mumbai.
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and former Australian skipper Steve Waugh had paid a courtesy visit to Raiji at his residence in January when he had turned 100.
It has been learned that the cremation will happen at the Chandanwadi crematorium in South Mumbai on Saturday afternoon.