India’s oldest living first class cricketer Vasant Raiji, 100, passed away in Mumbai on Saturday morning.
Vasant Raiji was India’s oldest living first-class cricketer. (Courtesy by BCCI)
- Raiji made his first-class debut in 1939 for a Cricket Club of India (CCI) team
- Raiji, also a historian, was 13 when India played his first Test at the Bombay Gymkhana
- Raiji shared dressing room with Lala Amarnath, Vijay Merchant, CK Nayudu and Vijay Hazare
Former first-class cricketer and historian Vasant Raiji who turned 100-years-old in January, passed away in Mumbai on Saturday morning. Raiji, a right-handed batsman, played nine first-class matches in the 1940s, scoring 277 runs with 68 being his highest score.
Raiji, also a historian, was 13 when India played his first Test at the Bombay Gymkhana in South Mumbai and has seen the entire journey of Indian Cricket, till date.
Raiji made his first-class debut in 1939 for a Cricket Club of India (CCI) team, which played against the Central Provinces and Berar in Nagpur. Though it didn’t turn out to be a memorable outing for Raiji — he was dismissed for a duck in the first innings, followed by just one in the second innings — that match inspired Raiji to take up the game seriously. He played for Bombay (now Mumbai) and Baroda. Raiji had shared the dressing room with the likes of Lala Amarnath, Vijay Merchant, CK Nayadu and Vijay Hazare.
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. pic.twitter.com/4zdoAcf8S3
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) January 26, 2020
Raiji resided in posh Walkeshwar area in South Mumbai. Even though he switched to chartered accountancy later, his love for cricket never faded. He wrote books on cricketers — Victor Trumper, CK Nayudu, LP Jai. And was also one of the founding members of the Jolly Cricket Club. Even though memory plays truant these days, Raiji still makes it a point to watch cricket on television.