Vasu Paranjpe: The Cricket Drona passes away at the age of 82
When we talk about Vasu Paranjape, he is a personality which has multiple dimensions. Only limiting him to a cricketer or a coach would’nt do justice to the enormous legacy he has built in all these decades. You ask about Vasu Paranjape sir to different types of people in Mumbai cricket right from the coaches to cricketers to selectors, everyone will have a different story to tell about him and each story would be outright inspiring or motivating or something to learn about.
Born on November 21, 1938, Vasu Paranjape passed away at the age of 82 in his matunga residence leaving behind a rich legacy for generations to cherish. Vasu sir made his first class debut in 1956 and played his last first class match in 1970 representing teams like Mumbai and Baroda. A utility all-rounder who can bat while also prove to be a handy bowler with his left arm orthodox spin. Vasu Paranjape was amongst the most prominent club cricketers in Mumbai during his time representing a star studded Dadar Union team which was known to be one of the most powerful teams in Mumbai cricket at that time. In a coaching career spanning more than 50 years, Vasu sir has coached multiple teams, multiple states at multiple age groups.
More than his coaching profile, the way he coached the players and how players evolved under him is the stuff of the legends. Vasu sir was also amongst the first coaches to be appointed at National Cricket Academy in 2000 alongwith the likes of Nari Contractor and Hanumant Singh. Vasu Paranjape has also been a mentor to many international & domestic cricketers right from the likes of Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Jatin Paranjape, Amol Muzumdar, Sulakshan Kulkarni to name a few. Vasu Paranjape’s son Jatin Paranjape also played for India in ODI’s in 1998. Jatin also played for Mumbai in 62 FC matches between 1991 to 2001.
Vasu Paranjape was a one man show of coaching, scouting and captaincy. His intellect, game sense, humor, approach towards the game, his ability to strike conversations with the players, know their loopholes, his ability to shield and protect the players from criticism was unmatched for any cricket coach in generations to come and this is a statement made by many International cricketers including the likes of Rohit Sharma.
Quote from Umesh Patwal – International Coach (Coached Teams like Nepal, Afghanistan, Mumbai to name a few)
Vasu sir was an absolute legend. His journey with Mumbai Cricket Association has been in multiple facets and you can’t just describe it in one line or one designation. His contribution to the game and especially to Mumbai Cricket has been extensive. I have learned a lot from Vasu sir who is my mentor. I know Vasu sir since Mumbai U17 Camp days. I remember, Vasu sir had spotted Rohit Sharma batting in New Hind nets during his U17 days and sir had told me “One day this boy will play for India” Vasu sir has trained numerous International cricketers and he was also amongst the first coaches to be appointed by NCA during its formation in the year 2000. That batch of 2000 at National Cricket Academy had so many Indian Cricketers including the likes of Rahul Dravid and many more. Rest in peace and heartfelt condolences to the family. We have lost one crucial part of Mumbai Cricket.
Quote from Sulakshan Kulkarni: Former Mumbai Ranji Player & Coach
Indian Cricket has lost a very big man, you don’t need to be Don Bradman or Sachin Tendulkar to be famous, sometimes having your own uniqueness also makes you special and Vasu sir was one of those characters, a once in a generation personality. I have so many stories on him that I can write a book on him. I just don’t know which story to tell. His mere presence in the dressing room or on the ground would bring positivity amongst the players. Also Vasu sir was one coach full of positivity, wisdom and sense of humor.
I remember once Jatin (his son) came back from an U19 Tour from Pakistan which had bowlers like Aaqib javed, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram to name a few. Jatin at that time made a name for himself and we were once playing together for Dadar Union in a Purshottam shield match. Vasu sir was leading the team and when Jatin came to bowl, Vasu sir set an attacking field since the ball was turning. Jatin bowled a full toss and batsman smashed a powerfull pull shot hitting the short leg fielder. It hit the fielder so hard that the ball rebounded and resulted in a catch which I took. Coming in a huddle to celebrate the wicket, Vasu sir told Jatin, “bhai ek ball mai ek hie wicket leni hai” referring to the short fielder who was almost flat on the ground after that ball hit him! One more incident I remember was, I had given my bat to Jatin, Vasu sir told Jatin, let me do some lapping so that bat would be great for use, Jatin however played with the bat without getting it lapped and while playing, the bat broke into multiple pieces. Coming back to pavilion, Vasu sir called him and said, “Ab is bat ko toothpick ke liye istemaal karna” “use the pieces of bat as a toothpick” chuckled vasu sir as entire dressing room had a good laugh over it. Sulakshan Kulkarni further shared, Vasu sir was a real friend, philoshopher and guide. He had the speciality of talking with everyone in same style. He was a person full of positivity, you even take your personal problems to him and you won’t feel the age difference. Sunil Gavaskar even wrote in his book, I got inspired by Vasu Paranjape’s captaincy. My heartfelt condolence to the legend, the paranjape family and it’s certainly the end of an era.
Quote from Wasim Jaffer, Former Indian Test Cricketer & Mumbai’s Domestic Legend shared with Cricketgraph”
“It’s a huge loss. He has helped so many cricketers in so many different ways and helped them become better players. His sense of humor is known to everyone and he had a knack of making everyone laugh with his one liners. We have lost a giant Mumbai personality”