India’s oldest living First Class cricket Vasant Raiji passed away in the wee hours on Saturday at his Walkeshwar residence.
“He passed away at 2.20 am in his sleep at his residence. It was a natural old age death,”
his gynecologist son-in-law Dr. Sudarshan Nanavati said.
He is survived by his wife Panna ben (95 years) two daughters-Brinda and Renuka (now in Australia).
“We were planning to perform his last rights at ChandanWadi electric crematorium but there was a long waiting queue there for the non-corona bodies and hence had decided to take him to Banganga Walkeshwar,” he added.
Incidentally, Raiji’s daughter and son in law had arrived from Ahmedabad last month and stayed back here.
On 26th January this year, many fans and well-wishers including Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and former Australia captain Steve Waugh had wished him.
Speaking exclusively over telephone from Australia on Saturday, Waugh said, “I am personally very saddened to hear of the passing of Vassant Raiji. I was privileged to spend some quality time with Mr. Raiji and his wife Panna and my good friend Sachin Tendulkar on my last visit to India where we shared cricketing stories before cutting a celebratory 100th birthday cake. He leaves an enduring legacy, a century of goodwill, memories and camaraderie that will always be remembered by the cricketing fraternity.”
He, as a chartered accountant of Dr. H D Kanga Memorial Library used to regularly visit the Library for his official visit, when I too used to be in the Library to refer to some of the books in the library.
“Once, during one of our meetings, I showed him my new book “VINOO MANKAD”. in 1970 in the Library. The late Mr. Raiji was deeply interested in the book and later purchased a copy for sending it to “The Cricket Quarterly” in England for a review on the book,” Vaidya recalls.
“After a few months he sent me a copy of the Cricket Quarterly in which a review on my book was published.”
“He did this for my friendship with him and also for the love for the cricketer Vinoo Mankad. I did not request him to do so, but he did all this, on his own, as a friendly gesture,” Vaidya added.