The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday expressed grief over the sad demise of India's oldest first-class cricketer Vasant Raiji. Raiji passed away in the wee hours of Saturday. He was 100.
Vasant Raiji passes away at 100, BCCI mourns loss
"It is with profound sadness that BCCI has learnt of the passing of Vasant Raiji, a former first-class cricketer and historian, who had turned 100 earlier this year on 26th January," said BCCI in a statement.
His 100th birthday celebrations was attended by Steve Waugh and Sachin Tendulkar at his residence. "Wishing you a very special 100th birthday, Shri Vasant Raiji. Steve & I had a wonderful time listening to some amazing cricket stories about the past. Thank you for passing on a treasure trove of memories about our beloved sport," Tendulkar had tweeted.
When India played its maiden Test on home soil, Raiji was a 13-year-old kid but managed to witness the historic match at the Bombay Gymkhana in 1932. He later made his first-class debut for Cricket Club of India against Central Provinces and Berar in Nagpur in 1939.
Raiji made his Bombay (now Mumbai) debut in 1941 and opened the innings under the captaincy of Vijay Merchant. The match ended in a draw with Bombay securing a first-innings lead. Later in his career, Raiji also played for Baroda. He played nine first-class matches and scored 277 runs with two fifties.
"After his retirement, he joined his family business, but passion for cricket kept him associated with the sport. He was a founding member of the Jolly Cricket Club in Mumbai and wrote books on Ranjitsinhji, Duleepsinhji, Victor Trumper, CK Nayudu an LP Jai. He also loved collecting books and memorabilia," the BCCI statement read.
Following the death of B. K. Garudachar in February 2016, Raiji became India's oldest first-class cricketer.