VASANT RAIJI, the world’s oldest first-class cricketer, died aged 100 in Mumbai on Saturday (13), his son-in-law Sudarsahan Nanavata said.
“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 said.
Raiji, a right-handed batsman, played nine first-class matches between 1938 and 1950, scoring 277 runs at an average of 23.08. He was also a cricket historian.
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.
Raiji, a chartered accountant, was 13 when India played its first Test match at the Bombay Gymkhana in South Mumbai.
Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar and former Australia captain Steve Waugh visited Raiji at his Mumbai home on his 100th birthday on January 26.
“His warmth and passion for playing and watching Cricket was endearing,” Tendulkar wrote of his meeting with Raiji on Twitter following the announcement of the death.
According to Indian sports statistician Mohandas Menon, New Zealand’s Alan Burgess, who was 100 on May 1, is now the world’s oldest living first-class cricketer.
The cremation will take place at the Chandanwadi crematorium in South Mumbai on Saturday afternoon.
Raiji is survived by his wife and two daughters.