Mumbai: Former India cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh led the way in paying tribute to Vasant Raiji, who passed away on Saturday, aged 100. Raiji, India's oldest first-class cricketer, played nine first-class matches in the 1940s and scored a total of 277 runs.
He opened the batting for Bombay and Baroda in the Ranji Trophy, and was a reserve for the Hindus team in the 1941 Bombay Pentangular. His two highest scores came in Baroda's victory over Maharashtra in 1944-45, when he made 68 and 53.
Tendulkar took to Twitter and wrote: "I met Shri Vasant Raiji earlier this year to celebrate his 100th birthday. His warmth and passion for playing and watching cricket was endearing. His passing away saddens my heart. My condolences to his family and friends."
Yuvraj tweeted: "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."
Former India fast bowler Rudra Pratap Singh wrote on Twitter: "#RIP #VasantRaiji who was India's oldest first-class cricketer. Recently he celebrated his life's century with cricket legends. All-rounder in real life Raiji was also a historian and chartered accountant."
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also paid tribute on Twitter and wrote: "BCCI mourns the sad demise of Vasant Raiji. The former first-class cricketer and historian. Who turned 100 this year in January, passed away in his sleep."
On March 7 this year, Raiji became the oldest living first-class cricketer in the world following the death of Englishman John Manners.
Raiji turned historian following his cricketing career. He was also a chartered accountant by profession.