Mumbai: Veteran Saurashtra batsman Sitanshu Kotak feels that the star-studded Mumbai side gunning for their 40th Ranji Trophy title will be favourites in the summit clash starting on Saturday.
“Mumbai is a big team with Sachin Tendulkar playing as well. Then there are players like (captain) Ajit Agarkar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Wasimbhai (Jaffer) and Abhishek Nayar. Mumbai is obviously a superior team; One can lie they are not, but the truth is they are a superior team,” said the 40-year-old left-handed batsman, who is known for doggedness.
“This is big game for us. It’s a pressure game. Personally, I think we should play like another Ranji Trophy game and try out best. But if we get a grip on the match, we have to make sure, we don’t lose it,” said Kotak ahead of Saurashtra’s maiden appearance in the summit contest.
Kotak, who had frustrated Mumbai by batting with monumental patience for nearly 800 minutes in making 168 when the two teams met at the same venue six years ago, said this was one way the visitors could frustrate the hosts again.
“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 out quickly. We should also keep them tight and bowl them out for a small score of 200 or 300 and then you try to bat them out of the game. You have to play one big innings and you have bowl them out once,” he said.
Kotak was of the view that his team was superior in the spin factor but also predicted that the Wankhede wicket may not offer much help to the slow bowlers.
“I personally think so because of the way we have performed on turning tracks or slow batting tracks. We have the variety.
“We have two off spinners (Kamlesh Makwana and Vishal Joshi). We have this young spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja. He got 40 plus wickets in the under-25 tournament and 9 wickets in his debut match against Madhya Pardesh. But I am not sure if they will be useful on this wicket,” said Kotak.
“Vishal (Joshi) is very dangerous on a turning track; he can turn the ball a long way, even on a slow track,” said Kotak.
“But on a Wankhede wicket, with little bit grass on it, I would be surprised if the ball turns much in the first three or four days. I think the wicket would be lively for seam bowlers and probably the match would be decided by the third or fourth day,” said the batsman, who has played 119 games for Saurashtra, since his debut in 1992-93.