Sachin Tendulkar’s statue was unveiled at the Wankhede, marking a deep tribute to his iconic cricket career and emotional connection to Mumbai and India.

Nearly a decade after he played his last international game, the little man was greeted with chants of ‘Saaaachiiin, Sachin’ by a largely empty Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday evening. The pre-recorded chants filtered through the public address system second after Sachin Tendulkar’s 22-foot statue, depicting a lofted straight drive, was unveiled adjacent to the stand named after him in a tribute by his home association that left him deeply moved.

Tendulkar’s 200th and final Test was against West Indies at the same venue in 2013, a game India wrapped up on the third day, November 16, by an innings and 126 runs. His final act on the field was a sparkling 74, his final act once the festivities were dispensed with and he made a stirring speech that left not a dry eye in the stadium was a walk to the middle of the ground to offer salutations to the pitch, a gesture of great symbolism and the ultimate proof of exactly what place the sport occupies in his life.

There was a slew of towering political and cricketing personalities in attendance at the unveiling of the statue and a function immediately afterwards, but there was no doubting who the cynosure was. Tendulkar’s connection to the sport and the country runs deep. He is revered and deified all over India, but it is Mumbai that is dearest to his heart, the Wankhede which holds the most special place in his consciousness.

Two of Tendulkar’s most iconic moments came at the ground he can rightfully call home – the realisation of a dream with victory in the World Cup final against Sri Lanka in 2011, and his last hurrah in international cricket, in front of his adoring immediate family – his mother included – and his extended family that the entire cricket-loving Indian fraternity had become. For the 24 years that he wielded his willow like a rapier and a broadsword and a scimitar, he dictated the moods of a billion people. His presence at the crease equalled reassurance, his dismissal drove daggers deep into Indian hearts. It’s unimaginable that one man could have carried so many hopes and expectations for so long – he first played for the country when he was 16 – and yet retained his sanity, his humility and his sense of equanimity.

Tendulkar’s evolution since his retirement has been little short of staggering. He has grown into an excellent speaker too, the first signs of which came during his passionate oration on the day of his Test retirement. On Wednesday, he regaled a rapt audience with previously unheard-of nuggets, including when he first visited the Wankhede as a 10-year-old to watch India play West Indies in 1983 as part of a 25-member group which had only 24 tickets because ‘tiny Tendulkar’ could easily be smuggled in.

One of his great regrets was not being able to bat alongside his hero Sunil Gavaskar, who took a 14-year-old Tendulkar to the Indian dressing room after the 1987 World Cup semifinal loss to England at the Wankhede. “The following year,” he recalled, “I was selected to play for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. When I entered the dressing room, every seat was taken except the one at the far left. I went and left my kit there and was informed that that had been SMG’s seat. I went out to bat and scored a hundred because that seat wasn’t used to being occupied. The crease was used to being occupied, instead, so I had no option but to score a hundred.” It was classic Tendulkar, understated and with a respectful sense of humour that hasn’t always been his calling card.

Tendulkar was more than a player and a batter and a cricketer for the entirety of his career when he strode the cricketing landscape like a colossus. He touched hearts, he wowed audiences all over the world and he had some of the greatest names to have graced cricket eating out of his hands. In India, he became an emotion from day one, his progress from a curly-haired, baby-faced 16-year-old to a senior statesman whose spirit remained undimmed even as successive injuries ravaged his body a wonderful example on how to ride the punches, how to marry the occasional bad times with the numerous good ones.

As he dedicated the statue to his numerous ‘non-strikers, including those who played before me and inspired me’, it was obvious that he was saying nothing for effect. This was Tendulkar, honest and unplugged. The Tendulkar India knows and loves. The Tendulkar with the power to unite and heal, more than anyone else.

It is important to acknowledge our role in contributing towards the nation’s strides towards prosperity. Being a responsible citizen by voting regularly in elections can be one of the primary steps.

Since independence, India has seen boundless growth. But for a country shaped by generational diversities, it is also incumbent upon us, as citizens, to recognise the weight of responsibility that accompanies Our freedom.

Unity in Diversity — is a phrase which captures the essence of India, the world’s largest democracy. We have had our fair share of historical struggles to reach this point today, when we are leading globally across various sectors.

As we observe the 76th Independence Day, it is important for us to remember that the freedom earned by our predecessors brings with ita sense of responsibility to contribute to the nation’s growth.

As a society, we convey mutual respect for each other irrespective of our beliefs and ideologies. In anything we do, we exhibit a sense of brotherhood and spirit of harmony.

As in cricket, it is not individuals with different faiths and beliefs Playing, it is always 11 Indian players on the field, playing for one nation. It is also Indians, and not Hindus, Sikhs, Christians or Muslims, cheering for India. This applies to any field or sector that contributes to nation building.

During my playing days, I was made aware of this sense of responsibility to be above all personal achievements. Even if 1 had the right to play my way, it was never the just thing to go for boundaries on every ball; I had to play dots or rotate strike, bowl or field in any
position, as the team and situation demanded. This sense of responsibility for the greater good of the team was inculcated in every player.
This holds true for anything we do as citizens of the country, while staying true to upholding the dignity of all.

Our idea of freedom transcends race, religion, gender or any other demographic multiplicities. The nation has taken leaps in gender sensitivity and inclusivity. We now have Droupadi Murmu as the first tribal woman President of India. We have women sportspersons coming from the remotest corners of the country and excelling at the global stage. In cricket, we have recently seen the introduction of pay parity for all and various other measures to make the game more inclusive, by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCD).

These kinds of transformations encourage generations to come forward and contribute responsibly to the nation’s growth. Events such as the recent launch of the Chandrayaan-3 mark paradigm shifts in the nation’s progress.

Scientists such as Ritu Karidhal Srivastava stand as a beacon of inspiration for her pivotal role in the lunar mission. It not only propels the nation’s scientific progress, but also makes us aware as citizens of the endless possibilities we have as a nation.

It is, however, also important to acknowledge our role in contributing towards the nation’s strides towards prosperity. Being a responsible citizen by voting regularly in elections can be one of the primary steps we can take to ensure seamless functioning of the democratic processes.

Through voting, we get to be discerning citizens by casting our ballots not just for ourselves but for the betterment of society as a whole.

There can be various other ways through which we can make a collective impact. There can be various other ways through which we can make a collective impact.

Little things such as having the utmost respect for all, following traffic rules, protecting our natural environment, keeping our surroundings clean, being an alert consumer, taking care of the elderly and the needy, building a cohesive environment for all, and so on, can help us create a better place for ourselves.

These smaller yet impactful practices can very well be an ode to our reclaimed freedom.

For a country shaped by generational diversities, it is incumbent upon us, as citizens of India, to recognise the weight of responsibility that accompanies our freedom.

A comprehensive awareness of the roles and responsibilities can be crucial as we envisage the nation’s progression from the 77th till the 100th year of Independence, and beyond.

“It’s his breakfast time,” our guide whispered. On a fine morning in the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, our jeep came in proximity of a tiger, mere steps away, its gaze fixed upon us. It was a chilling yet exquisite moment we experienced amidst Tadoba’s wilderness.

Often seen as a symbol of strength and elegance, tigers have long captured our imagination. Be it for their predominant role in sustenance of the jungle or for their significance as our National Animal, tigers carry the essence of our wildlife heritage. However, as we all come across accounts of creatures that once thrived in numbers but have gone extinct now, conservationists and wildlife experts have a similar fateful concern for the regal predator, if not looked after well.

The awareness around tiger conservation dawned upon me in the later part of my playing days. I realized how our busy lifestyle keeps us away from the concerning issues pertaining to nature and its conservation. Although I got the opportunity to be associated with various causes while playing, I believe it is not until we observe the implications ourselves that we get the crux of it.

My tryst with tigers is mostly supplemented by my visits to the tiger sanctuaries including the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve and the Ranthambore National Park, among others. These National Parks, standing as bastions of tiger conservation in Maharashtra and Rajasthan, respectively, amplify the efforts taken by the communities co-existing in the periphery and the forest officials.

Forest reserves also boast of a distinct flora and fauna that keep the ecosystem thriving. One can see Arjuna trees thriving by the riverbeds, and teaks and mahuas beautifying the lanes of the jungle. On one of our visits, we were astonished to learn how tigers convey their strengths to other tigers by clawing on the pale-and-smooth-skinned ‘ghost trees’. This sense of cohabitation among the flora and fauna creates the core of the national parks and forest reserves. Communities navigate life around the peripheries of such diverse ecosystems. Their lives revolve around the livestock and the forest produce.

However, something that strikes me often is the way the children grow amidst the lap of nature and around the habitats of the tiger. This is true for all the communities and tribes living around national parks and forest reserves. They tend to cultivate a deep sense of respect and appreciation for wildlife from an early age. We were once welcomed heartily by an eager bunch of children when we stopped by their school in Tadoba. Their delight was unparalleled upon receiving new books and school kits. Their knowledge around tigers and other animals and birds, at such a tender age, was commendable. Groomed well, this younger generation holds the potential to be more considerate towards tiger conservation. Just one interaction with them is enough to make you realize their eagerness to learn and prosper.

Conservation is anyway not achievable in isolation; it requires unified efforts. Just like cricket, tiger conservation demands teamwork and collaboration. In recent years, we have witnessed dedicated efforts of forest officials, local communities, and various organizations striving to protect tigers and their habitats.

However, it is imperative that we must acknowledge the results brought in by the ambitious ‘Project Tiger’ that started in 1973. Traversing a long way to mark 50 years this year, this is one of those large-scale projects that have made India’s mark globally. The emerging numbers are encouraging for such a challenging project that builds on the principle to safeguard the regal creature. From a near extinct phase to 3000+ as per the latest census, the project paves way for a promising future for the tigers. Recent campaigns like “Saving Our Stripes” by The Times of India commemorating the ‘Project Tiger’ can also generate awareness among the masses. Nevertheless, for the tiger population to thrive and grow, we need more area under forest cover. This can be achieved through Community Nature Conservancies. These help farm lands to generate more revenue from tourism and improve the lives of otherwise impoverished farmers.

Tigers are keystone species, playing a crucial role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems. Their sustenance ensure the survival of the other species as well as the communities, whom we come across on each of our getaways or visits. We must support collective endeavours to bring back the tigers from ‘endangered’ to a ‘thriving’ status. A future where tigers thrive and lead the ecological balance is where our own sustenance will thrive.

Mumbai: “As soon as I walked in here, I was made to realise that I am going to be 50, when people addressed me as “Kashe ahaat tumhi”, joked batting great Sachin Tendulkar as he met the Mumbai media who have been part of his cricketing journey at the CCI’s CK Nayudu Hall on Friday, as part of his 50th birthday celebrations. Tendulkar would be turning 50 on April 24 and the word tumhi in Marathi is used for someone who is middle-aged and respected.

Recounting his relationship with the media, Tendulkar stressed that sports journalists had played an important role in his career. “I have always believed that appreciation amplifies performance. The way you appreciated all my efforts, gave me strength to go out and try harder. I wasn’t always successful. I stumbled along the way. But this beautiful sport taught me to get back on my feet again. And move forward. But to move forward, you provided that fuel. On an empty tank, I don’t think I would have covered the distance that I did,” he stressed.

Tendulkar stated that during his playing days, there used to be a lot more interaction between the players and the press. “We used to have journalists sitting in the same room and having a meal with us. I don’t know if that happens today. Those things brought us closer to each other. From a journalist’s point of view, if you get to know an individual off the field too, you know what is going on in the players’ minds and you know how to cover moments when there are ups and downs,” he stated.

However, his relationship got off on a rocky note as a story about his first school hundred being carried without his picture caused him a lot of grief. “When I scored my first school hundred, it was covered beautifully, but my photograph wasn’t carried. And all my friends said, ‘Arre, tera photo aaya hi nahin. Sabka aata hain, tera nahin aaya.”

His parents and family members though consoled him with there will always be a next time. Tendulkar says he was still agitated. “My father ended up meeting his friend, who had a few contacts as he was a writer and he congratulated him on my hundred as he had read about it. My father told him everyone at home was happy except me because my friends were teasing me saying, “Tera photo nahin aaya.”

Eventually, his father’s friend got hold of Tendulkar’s picture through brother Ajit and two days later a massive write up with his picture was carried. “All my family members did not leave home for two days because they were embarrassed,” narrated Tendulkar on Friday.

The legendary cricketer also thanked the media for providing son Arjun the space to develop as a cricketer. “When I retired, you guys again hosted a fantastic afternoon for me here, at this venue, and I had made a request to allow Arjun to fall in love with cricket. My plea then was as a father, not a cricketer. Ten years have passed, and I must thank you for giving him that space and allowing him to fall in love with cricket. Today, in Arjun, we see a 23-year-old mature guy who is madly in love with cricket who doesn’t want anything else in life.”

Sachin Tendulkar Desert Storm: The ‘Master Blaster’ played one of the greatest One Day International innings on April 22, 1998 against Australia in Sharjah.

Cricket Legend Sachin Tendulkar celebrated the 25th anniversary of his historic “desert storm” innings against Australia at Sharjah by cutting a cake amid fans at an event in Mumbai. Tendulkar also interacted with his fans at this event ahead of his 50th birthday on April 24.

“I don’t think whatever I have been able to achieve would have been possible without your support, love & affection. That positive energy gave me the strength to go out and do what I did for India. The dream was to play for India, to lift that beautiful trophy – the birth of that dream took place in 1983. From there on till 2011, I only had one desire in life – hold that beautiful trophy,” he said while addressing the fans on Saturday as corroborated by an ANI report.

The right-handed batter is currently part of the Mumbai Indians’ franchise support staff and was part of the dressing room when Arjun Tendulkar, his son, made his IPL debut for the same franchise which he captained during its initial years. Sachin and Arjun Tendulkar also became the first-ever father-son duo to play in the IPL.

Talking about the iconic Desert Storm innings, the match at Sharjah against Australia was part of a triangular series also involving New Zealand. Prior to this, India-Australia Game on April 22, 1998, Team India had won just one out of their three games and Australia had already won their first three games to secure a place in the finals.

This was a must-win game for India to set up a titular contest against the Kangaroos. However, Australia ended up setting up an intimidating total of 284 for 7 in their 50 overs despite Venkatesh Prasad’s 2/41 in his 8 overs. Michael Bevan, one of the greatest finishers ever to have played the game, scored 101 off 103 balls to take the Aussies to a strong total.

In response, Tendulkar produced what is regarded as among the all-time best knocks ever played in a One-Day International. Against a formidable Australian attack comprising of the likes of Shane Warne, Michael Kasprowicz, Damien Fleming and Tom Moody, Tendulkar spared no one and attacked everyone.

Two sand storms hit Sharjah that day- one the actual one that interrupted the match and gave India a revised target of 276 in 46 overs and the other metaphorical from the bat of Sachin that almost blew away the mighty Aussies. Tendulkar, however, couldn’t get India past the finish line and Fleming ended a masterclass off an innings worth 143 off 131 with India’s scoreboard reading 242/5. Victory was still in sight for India as they needed 34 from 18 balls but the rest of the batters could only accumulate 8 runs from the next 3 overs to lose the game, handing Australia a victory by 26 runs. However, for his 9 fours and 5-sixes laden innings, Tendulkar was declared as the Player of the Match.

Video: Courtesy BCCI

Tendulkar said the BCCI is doing its best for the growth of women’s cricket in the country.

Sachin Tendulkar on Wednesday felicitated the India U-19 women’s cricket team for its triumph in the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in South Africa, saying the feat will encourage many girls to take up the sport and realise their dreams.

“I would likely to congratulate you on the magnificent achievement. The entire nation will celebrate (the triumph) for years to come.

“For me, my cricketing dreams started in 1983 but by winning this World Cup, you have given birth to many dreams. It was a magnificent performance,” Tendulkar said during the felicitation ceremony just before the start of the series-deciding third T20I between India and New Zealand here on Wednesday.

“By winning this World Cup, you have given a dream to young girls in India to represent the country.”

“The beginning of the WPL (Women’s Premier League) is going to be the biggest thing. I believe in equality for men and women, and not just in sports. There should be equal opportunities,” he added.

Tendulkar said the BCCI is doing its best for the growth of women’s cricket in the country.

“What BCCI has been able to do and the officials’ contribution in helping women’s cricket prosper, I think it’s a sign that we will really do well (in future).” During the brief felicitation function, which was also attended by BCCI secretary Jay Shah, president Roger Binny, vice-president Rajeev Shukla and treasurer Ashish Shelar, the dignitaries handed over a cheque of Rs five crore to the victorious India U-19 women’s team as announced by the board secretary earlier.

~ A retrospection on Sachin Tendulkar’s non-endorsement of tobacco and liquor brands ~

“Tobacco consumption can be injurious to health” – one of the oft-seen and highly (mis)used disclaimers in the advertising world. Over the years, its effect on tobacco consumers had not been as it was expected to be. The Seventh Edition of the annual Tobacco Atlas, released by Vital Strategies and the Tobacconomics team at the University of Illinois at Chicago, suggests that there are 1.1 billion smokers and several hundred million users of other tobacco products in the world.

Another 2021 WHO report suggests that tobacco claims the lives of more than 8 million people each year, out of which, 7 million deaths are due to direct tobacco usage while around 1.2 million are the result of passive or second hand smoking. The same report suggests that over 80% of the world’s more than a billion tobacco users belong to low- and middle-income countries, which includes India and the other South Asian countries.

In this ever-concerning sphere of tobacco consumption, one of the factors that have been contributing hugely is the space of brand endorsement. Big tobacco and liquor brands have been at the forefront of indulging in sponsorship and celebrity endorsements to tempt the masses into using their products, for years. It was in the late-90s, when apart from sponsoring big award shows, world tobacco makers targeted the Indian sports industry as well and ventured into sponsoring events, leagues, and team kits.

Amidst this then-new and profit-making trend, one man that was undeterred was Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, the man who brought a revolution to Indian cricket and gave hope to billions of dreams. It was in the late-90s when big global tobacco brands entered the Indian market to sponsor the Indian men’s cricket team’s kit. While many from the team including senior players put the sponsors’ names and logos in their kits, Sachin refused and instead left his bat blank for about two years.

Considering how big brands paid for endorsements and how at that time, the salary of the cricketers was in the range of a meagre 15 thousand Rupees only, it was indeed a big and daring move by Sachin.

At the core of Sachin’s refusal to endorse tobacco and liquor brands is his promise to his father, but there is also an inherent virtue Sachin has carried all along throughout his career and beyond.

Sachin’s commitment to work for the underprivileged section, especially children, is quite evident through his decades-long involvement with UNICEF, and other key initiatives.

His commitment and vow to not endorse any tobacco and liquor products could not be shaken during the IPL as well, where he again refused to endorse any sponsors that deal with tobacco or liquor.
In today’s world, where the advertisers adopt various sly measures like surrogate advertising to promote their products, the onus is more on the celebrities or youth icons to choose their endorsements responsibly.

The recent controversy regarding the endorsement of a tobacco brand by a Bollywood star is one such example, where he had to tender a public apology later on.

The brand’s tagline itself has become a hit among people, especially the youth, resulting in scores of videos and memes floating around it on Social Media. This bears testimony to the impact celebrity endorsement can make on the youth.

In this regard, another shocking finding of the 7th Edition of the annual Tobacco Atlas can be pointed out, where it suggests that although there is a drop in the percentage of adult smokers from 22.6% in 2007 to 19.6% in 2019, the rate of smokers in the 13-15 age bracket is growing. This age denotes the teenagers who are more vulnerable to falling prey to tobacco consumption through advertisements.

When the celebrities that they look up to themselves promote the tobacco products through eye-catching advertisements, the risk of consumption surges. In one of its advisories, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests for a comprehensive ban on both direct and indirect forms of advertising, sponsorship, or promotion of tobacco products, to reduce its consumption.

It is true that it is not easily possible to have a consensus among celebrities to not endorse any tobacco or liquor products, given the changing landscape of advertising and marketing. But it is also noteworthy that by standing true to his words and beliefs of not endorsing any such products that can harm someone, especially the youth, Sachin has been carrying on a silent revolution, in a way.

Countless of tobacco and liquor brands approached him over the years with multi-crore deals, but he chose his ideals over money, every time. He knows the worth of his public image and how his deeds can impact his admirers, and this self-awareness and determination uphold the dignity that his name carries.

For almost two decades now, Sachin has been selflessly associated with the UNICEF, and several other government as well as non-governmental initiatives to offer a better life to the underprivileged children, and to give wings to their dreams. In today’s fast-changing world, amidst all the other pandemics, tobacco consumption is considered another ‘epidemic’ that has been impacting billions of lives each year.

With this, as we celebrate World No Tobacco Day, one can only hope that the silent revolution Sachin has been leading by not endorsing any tobacco and liquor products, become a roaring revolution in times to come.

NEW DELHI: India’s series opener against West Indies at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera on Sunday will be the hosts 1000th one-day international overall. India in fact will become the first cricket playing nation to play 1000 ODIs.

And on this occasion, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, who played a stupendous 463 ODIs for India, congratulated the country’s cricket fraternity.

Tendulkar, who had been part of India’s 200th, 300th, 400th, 500th, 600th, 700th, and 800th ODIs, said, “India playing their 1000th ODI is a huge milestone. The first ODI was played in 1974 and now in 2022 we are playing the 1000th ODI.”

When the Indian men’s team faced England in their first-ever ODI at Headingley, Leeds on July 13, 1974, no one really would have expected India to become the first nation to reach the milestone of playing 1000 ODIs.

It (the 1000th ODI) was only possible because of the past cricketers, the current cricketers, the past board members, the current board members and not to forget the most important people – our Indian cricket team’s well-wishers – from the past generations and even the ones who are today with us and the ones who are going to continue being with us, I would want to say that it is an achievement for all of us,” Tendulkar added.

From Tendulkar’s debut till his retirement, India played 638 matches. Incredibly it was India’s 166th match when Tendulkar made his debut against Pakistan in 1989 and the Little Master announced his ODI retirement after the 804th ODI India played in 2012 – also against Pakistan.

Continuing his effusive praise, Tendulkar said, “The entire nation should be proud of this and hope Indian cricket continues to go from strength to strength. I know we’ll be playing on the 6th of February against the West Indies in Ahmedabad, I want to wish them all the very best for the coming series and especially for the 1000th ODI. Good luck.”

Since the inception of ODIs in 1974, out of all the ODIs played by Team India, Tendulkar has been part of a whopping 57.58%, whereas in terms of the ODIs played during his career, he featured in 72.57% of the matches, which reflects his unparalleled contribution during this tremendous journey of the Indian cricket team.

When asked to pick one top ODI knock from his glittering career, Tendulkar said, “I would say the first 200 in ODI that was scored, which I got against South Africa, that would be one of the landmarks, because the bowling attack was also good and it was a very good opposition, it happened in ODI history (men’s cricket) for the first time, so it has its own relevance. So I would say that my double hundred against South Africa would be one of the important knocks in ODI cricket for me.”

Sachin Tendulkar, on National Sports Day, tweeted a video where he took some time out from a shooting stint to play cricket with the crew members, giving them a special moment to cherish. The experience for the crew members became even more special when Bollywood stars Varun Dhawan and Abhishek Bachchan also joined in. This was a surprise not only for the crew members but also Sachin Tendulkar who greeted both the stars warmly. “It’s always good to mix work with play. Had a lot of fun playing cricket with the crew during a shoot & was pleasantly surprised with @Varun_dvn dropping by along with @juniorbachchan who joined us for some time. #SportPlayingNation #FitIndiaMovement,” Tendulkar tweeted.

As the video progressed, Sachin is seen gently asking Varun, “We are planning to play cricket, are you keen to join”, to which the Judwaa 2 star agreed instantly.

The game started with Sachin taking the strike and Varun bowling. After that Abhishek Bachchan also bowled a couple of deliveries to the Master Blaster. When a ball bounced awkwardly, Tendulkar jokingly said, “it’s a dangerous wicket”.

After completing his batting, Sachin hands the ball to a budding cricketer Jeeya and encourages her with his motivating words.

Varun Dhawan who had a lot of fun during the match expressed this by replying to Sachin’s tweet. Varun also praised the Sachin for his wonderful initiative.

“#SportPlayingNation what a brilliant initiative this is sir. Had a lot of fun running into you that day sir,” Varun replied.

Sachin Tendulkar, the world’s most successful batsman in terms of number of runs scored, retired from international cricket in 2013. He is the only cricketer who has 100 international centuries to his name. He also holds the world record of playing 200 Test matches.

In the game of cricket, we have seen many cricketers scoring a century at least once in their career. However, we have not heard of a cricketer completing his century in his age. Yes, you read it right. The former first-class player identified as Vasant Raiji, the oldest living cricketer in celebrated his 100th birthday.

Basant Raiji was born on January 26, 1920, and it was really glad to see the oldest living cricketer in India celebrating his special occasion with legendary cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh. Both the legends marked their presence and cut the birthday cake with Raiji at his residence.

“Wishing you a very special 100th birthday, Shri Vasant Raiji,” former India batting great Sachin Tendulkar tweeted as a caption. “Steve & I had a wonderful time listening to some amazing cricket stories about the past. Thank you for passing on a treasure trove of memories about our beloved sport.”

Raiji featured in nine first-class matches in his decade long career. He has scored 277 runs at an average of 23. He was a specialist right-handed batsman. He made his debut for the Cricket Club of (CCI) and played against the likes of Central Provinces and Berar in Nagpur in 1939.

He made his debut for Bombay in 1941 under the great Vijay Merchant’s captaincy. He also shared the dressing room with other legendary figures like Lala Amarnath, CK Nayudu and Vijay Hazare.

Post his retirement, Raiji joined his family business of chartered accountancy. His love for the game never declined as he went on to write books on cricketers like Victor Trumper, CK Nayudu, and LP Jai.