“Kotsy (as he is fondly called in the team) is a very special player to us. We haven’t told him this, but yes, at the back of our mind, we want to win the Ranji Trophy for him.
It’s the biggest gift we can give him for being around for such a long time,” medium pacer Jaydev Unadkat, who has grown up watching Kotak, told MiD DAY. Kotak, who will play his 120th Ranji match today, made his first-class debut in 1992-93.
The 40-year-old, who is Ranji Trophy’s highest run-getter without having won the title, is only 18 runs short of reaching 8000 runs in first-class cricket. Mumbai would be reminded of Kotak’s last innings at Wankhede in 2007 when he batted for two days for an unbeaten 168 to help Saurashtra get the crucial first-innings lead to enter the Ranji semi-finals.
Young pacer Sidharth Trivedi is also keen to win the final for Kotak. “He has been our mainstay for so many years. Winning the final will be a great tribute to him,” said Trivedi.
Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Shah stressed on the need to focus on the game: “Kotak is a great player for us and we would like to dedicate this win to him. There are talks about his retirement, but he isn’t focusing on it. He too is eager to win the big match. We want to focus on the game. Mumbai is a strong opponent. It is our first final.”