World's oldest first-class cricketer Vasant Raiji passes away aged 100

He had turned 100 years old on January 26.

Vasant Raiji
Vasant Raiji. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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The cricketing world woke up to the sad news on Saturday as the world’s oldest first-class cricketer Vasant Raiji passed away. On January 26 this year, he had turned 100 years old and had celebrated the occasion with the legendary cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh. The former had also wished him on Twitter stating that they had a great time talking to Vasant.

Vasant Raiji was born in Baroda in 1920 and went on to play for his state and Mumbai as well in Ranji Trophy. He was an opened and took the field in nine first-class matches scoring 277 runs at an average of 23.08. His highest score of 68 came for Baroda against Maharashtra in 1944-45 season. Though his on-field career didn’t last long, Vasant wrote a few books on the sport and eventually became a cricket historian.

As for his unfortunate demise, Times of India reported that he passed away in his sleep at 2:20 AM IST on Saturday. He was survived by his wife Panna Raiji, who is 95 years old, and two daughters. Vasant Raiji had become the oldest alive first-class cricketer after Hampshire’s John Manners passed away at the age of 105 on March 7.

MCA President pays tribute to Vasant Raiji

Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) president Vijay Patil expressed his sadness over Vasant Raiji’s passing away on Saturday morning. He also termed himself fortunate to have met Vasant on his 100th birthday earlier this year. “I am deeply saddened by the news of the demise of Shri Vasant Raiji.

“I had the good fortune of meeting him on his 100th birthday where he shared his memories about our rich cricketing history through his eyes. May his soul rest in peace and my deepest condolences to his family,” he said.

Now the oldest alive first FC cricketer is Alan Burgess from New Zealand who turned 100 on 1st May this year. He played 14 first-class matches in his career mustering 466 runs at an average of 22.19. He also scored a couple of half-centuries besides picking 16 wickets with his slow left-arm spin bowling.