Mumbai v Saurashtra, final, Ranji Trophy 2012-13, Mumbai January 24, 2013

Biggest match in my career - Kotak

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shitanshu Kotak, the 40-year old Saurashtra batsman who will play his first Ranji Trophy final in his 129th game, has acknowledged Mumbai are the stronger side in the summit clash, but hopes Saurashtra will do enough to gain the upper hand and not let go.

Kotak, with 7982 runs in his 20-year career, is the Ranji Trophy's highest run-getter without having won the title, and will have a chance to correct that from Saturday.

"Mumbai are obviously a superior team. One can lie that they are not, but the truth is they are a superior team," Kotak told PTI. "But if we get a grip on the match, we have to make sure, we don't lose it.

"I look at it in two ways. If you win the toss, the only way is to bat them out of the game and try and get them out once. Or if we field first, we have to try and utilise the wicket and dismiss the first five batsmen quickly. You have to play one big innings and you have bowl them out once.

"We have played them many times in the last five six years and we got the first-innings lead three times. There is something positive for us to look at."

Kotak said Saurashtra making the final was a "great achievement". "I can't think of playing any bigger match than this Ranji final in my life. I think we have been improving gradually in the last 15 years. And in the last eight years, it has been getting better with outstanding players emerging like [Cheteshwar] Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Jaydev Unadkat."

Saurashtra, however, will play the final without Pujara and Jadeja, who are part of India's squad for the final ODI against England in Dharamsala. Kotak wasn't too upset by that though. "Even when they [Pujara and Jadeja] were available they needed support from the others and players like [Sheldon] Jackson and [Arpit] Vasavada performed. In the bowling department when we needed wickets someone or the other stepped up his performance. That's the reason we are in the final.

"Any team will miss them. If they are playing for India, that's fine. If the BCCI thinks that it has to look after the Indian team first, because we need to win 4-1 and that the team should regain its confidence, then that should be the priority.

Kotak was undecided on whether the final would be his last first-class game. "I love the game. I don't have to announce my last match on the ground and declare it in such a big game. The focus is on winning the game. Retirement is an emotional thing and I don't want any emotion to dominate this match."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2013, 8:43 GMT

    Agree with mikealaker. If you are looking to win the title on a 1st inning lead are in trouble

  • murali on January 25, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    completely accept with ashok16. After all this is the biggest domestic match.

  • Pradyumna on January 25, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    Even though the final is going to be a 5 day game , Saurashtra are looking to win the game on first innings' lead. *Sigh*.

  • Balaji on January 25, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    There is disconnect btw the indian captain dhoni and selectors, when pujara was selected dhoni came out and said pujara will not play, can't understand why he is warming bench in dharamsala when he could he winning the teams first ranji title. Can dhoni play him for ghambir in final odi and mishra for ashwin, may not happen, dhoni liked to stick with same team whatsoever. Anyhow I want saurhastra to win, mumbai has done so many times, and I want sachin to score 0 in both the innings, so his confidence is low before the aussies test. If none of the performers from ranji are picked for aussie series, I will skip watching it under utter disappointment on selection front.

  • Ashok on January 25, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    BCCI should release Jadeja, Pujara and Rohit Sharma. The series against England is already won and it was a meaningless series anyway. But of course BCCI has little or no imagination.

  • Dummy4 on January 24, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    Great man, in SF against Punjab he showed us the grit and determinism. The current Indian Test players should learn from him on how to value a wicket.

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