Vasant Raiji, India’s Oldest First Class Cricketer died at 100!

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Vasant Raiji

India’s oldest first-class cricketer, Vasant Raiji died at the age of 100 in the early hours of Saturday. Raiji was 100 years old & was survived by his wife & two daughters. “He (Raiji) passed away at 2.20 am in his sleep at his residence in Walkeshwar in South Mumbai due to old age,” his son-in-law Sudarshan Nanavati told media.

Vasant Raiji a right-handed batsman who played nine first-class matches in the 1940s who scored 277 runs with 68 runs being his highest score. He made his debut for a Cricket Club of India team that played for Central Provinces & Berar in Nagpur in 1939. His debut for Mumbai happened in 1941 when the team played for Western India under the leadership of Vijay Merchant.

Former India batting sensation Sachin Tendulkar & the BCCI paid a tribute to Vasant 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 were endearing. His passing away saddens my heart. My condolences to his family & friends”, Sachin Tendulkar tweeted on his official Twitter handle.

Whereas BCCI wrote, “BCCI mourns the sad demise of Vasant Raiji. The former first-class cricketer and historian, who turned 100 this year in January, passed away in his sleep”.

Raiji who is also a chartered accountant & a cricket historian was just 13 years old when India played its first test match at the Bombay Gymkhana in south Mumbai. Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar & former Australian skipper Steve Waugh had paid a courtesy visit to Raiji at his residence in January when he had turned 100 years old. It has been learned that the cremation will take place at the Chandanwadi crematorium in South Mumbai on Saturday afternoon.