Vasant Raiji, India’s oldest first-class cricketer, dies at 100

Cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh with the oldest living first class cricketer and historian Vasant Raiji at his residence, in Mumbai on Monday, January 13, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

India’s oldest First Class cricketer Vasant Raiji passed away at his home on Saturday morning. He had turned 100 in January. He is survived by his wife and two daughters. A chartered accountant, he was also a well-known chronicler of cricket, having written books on C.K. Nayudu, Ranjitsinhji, Duleepsinhji, L.P. Jai and Victor Trumper.

A Cricket Club of India player, he represented Bombay and Baroda. A right-handed batsman, Raiji played nine First Class games in the 1940s and scored 277 runs. Raiji made his first appearance for Bombay in 1941 under Vijay Merchant, against Western Provinces, at Nagpur.

His fascination for cricket began as a 13-year-old, watching Lala Amarnath notch up a debut century in India’s first home Test against Douglas Jardine’s England at Bombay Gymkhana in 1933.

Nari Contractor, Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh were among those who had personally wished him on his 100th birthday.

Tendulkar tweeted: 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.”

The cricketer-historian was also a founding member of Jolly Cricket Club in Mumbai.

He also took the lead in setting up CCI’s Legends Club during the tenure of Raj Singh Dungarpur as president.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 8:52:05 AM |

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