Former Mumbai cricket stalwart, Vasudeo Paranjpe, better known as Vasoo Paranjpe and a mentor to some of India’s top international cricketers passed away in Mumbai on Monday. He was 82.
Paranjpe, whose son Jatin played ODI cricket for India and had served as national selector recently, was the captain of Dadar Union Cricket Club and had captained former Indian batting mainstays Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar.
He was revered as a coach.
From Gavaskar and Vengsarkar to Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Rohit Sharma, Paranjpe touched everyone’s lives.
“Vasoo was a mentor, an outstanding coach. He was a captain and a mentor,” recalled Dilip Vengsarkar to IANS.
“His life revolved around cricket. He used to inspire young cricketers, talk to them and guide them,” added Vengsarkar who played under him at Dadar Union in early 1970s when the club shared an iconic rivalry with Shivaji Park Gymkhana. The rivalry was known as the Mumbai version of Battle of Roses, originally the name given to Lancashire vs Yorkshire rivalry in County Championship match.
Paranjpe was coach of the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team when Vengsarkar had led it in 1988-89. He was also the coach at a camp in Delhi for the Indian cricket team ahead of the 1987 World Cup.
“He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He was critical for the last 3-4 days. His demise happened in house,” said Mumbai Cricket Association secretary Sanjay Naik to IANS.
Former India opener and captain Sunil Gavaskar was among those who visited Paranjpe’s house to pay respects.
Current India coach Ravi Shastri tweeted his condolences, saying, “Really saddened at the demise of Vasoo Paranjape. He was an institution in the game with a real positive vibe in whatever he did. Condolences to @jats72 and the family. God bless his soul.”
Former India captain and the country’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket Anil Kumble also tweeted his condolences.
“Saddened to hear the passing of Vasu Paranjape. Two years of my formative years at the National camp was a great learning under his tutelage. He will be missed. My condolences to @jats72 and family,” wrote Kumble on Twitter.
Paranjpe was the one who advised Dravid to focus on batting and not become a wicketkeeper-batsman. He even wrote to C. Nagraj, the Karnataka State Cricket Association secretary at the time, to ensure that coaches in Karnataka encourage him to bat.
He also earmarked Sachin Tendulkar for future greatness.
In a book written on him by son Jatin Paranjpe titled “The Cricket Drona- for the love of Vasoo Paranjpe”, India opener Rohit Sharma pays regards to him: “When I look back, I realise how shrewdly Sir had forged the path that led me to the world stage of cricket. I was not from a big club or a big school or a college team. I was an outlier. But Sir’s recommendations to Pravin Amre, Kiran More and Dilip Vengsarkar got people talking about me, and I delivered on that promise. Without Sir by my side in those early years, I would not have been able to achieve as much as I fortunately have.”
Paranjpe represented Mumbai and Baroda, and played 29 first-class matches, scoring 785 runs.