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.
"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.
India's batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who attended Raiji's birthday celebrations earlier this year along with former Australian captain Steve Waugh, took to Twitter to mourn the death of the former cricketer.
"I met Shri Vasant Raiji earlier this year to celebrate his 100th birthday. His warmth and passion for playing and watching Cricket was endearing," wrote Tendulkar.
"His passing away saddens my heart. My condolences to his family & friends."
Former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh also took to Twitter to condole the death of Raiji. "My condolences on the passing away of Shri. Vasant Raiji, India’s oldest first-class cricketer. Praying for the family’s strength in this hour of grief," wrote Yuvraj.
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.
(With inputs from IANS)