Former India batsman Sachin Tendulkar on Saturday condoled the demise of former first-class cricketer Vasant Raiji, who passed away earlier today, saying his passion for playing cricket was endearing. “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,” Tendulkar tweeted.

Former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh also expressed grief over the demise 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,” Yuvraj said in a tweet.

Raiji was aged 100 and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed the demise of the historian. He had turned 100 earlier this year and was also a historian. When India played its maiden Test on home soil, Raiji, who was 13-year-old, managed to witness the historic match at the Bombay Gymkhana in 1932.

He later made his first-class debut for Cricket Club of India against Central Provinces and Berar in Nagpur in 1939. 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 a 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 and LP Jai. He also loved collecting books and memorabilia.

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