Saurashtra veteran Shitanshu Kotak to retire from first-class cricket
Known in domestic circles for batting long hours and dogged resistance levels, the 40-year-old left-hander has amassed 7,996 runs for Saurashtra in 129 matches over a period of more than two decades.
Veteran Saurashtra batsman Shitanshu Kotak will call time on his first-class career after his team's Ranji Trophy opener against Rajasthan in Rajkot later in October.
In an interview to ESPNcricinfo, Kotak said that he contemplated retirement last season after Saurashtra made it to the final of the Ranji Trophy.
"I felt the team had done so well to reach the final," the left-handed batsman said.
"It was a superb achievement and I did not want to take away from it with talk of my retirement."
"But now I feel the time has come to make way for someone young. It is a good time to go. There are so many youngsters around to take the team ahead. I would like to thank the Saurashtra Cricket Association and Mr Niranjan Shah for all the support throughout my career. To have played for so long and not be dropped, I could not have asked for more. I would like to remain associated with the game in whatever manner possible after retirement. I will have a chat with Mr Shah and my association and plan the way forward," he added.
Kotak has a total of 7996 first-class runs to his name at an average of 41.64 with the help of 15 centuries in 129 games. One of Kotak's most memorable moments has been Saurashtra's entry into the Ranji final last season.
"There are so many things to remember. Last year's final is of course one of them. Also, Saurashtra winning the domestic one-day championship (in 2007-08) and qualifying for the Elite League from the Plate League," he said.
Kotak admits that there is always the temptation to play one more season after seeing his team fall at the last hurdle when they lost to Mumbai in the Ranji final.
"That feeling will be there, but some day I had to take the call. Some day, it had to come to an end. I will still play for Bharat Petroleum in the Times Shield and league cricket in England. But this is it as far as first-class cricket goes," he maintained.
Kotak was known to bat for long periods and his dogged resistance at the crease was good at keeping bowling attacks at bay. He was a key factor that transformed Saurashtra from an ordinary side to a potent force in domestic cricket. From his perspective, he had seen the team change alot in the last 20 years.
"To think that we now have as many as three people playing for India (Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Jaydev Unadkat). It is a tremendous achievement. We have come a long way," said Kotak.
While his presence will be missed in the dressing room, this will give Kotak time to play with his 12-year-old son. It was a common sight to see father and son practice in Rajkot after a day's play.
"That is definitely a positive outcome. Otherwise, he would have complained I was never able to give him enough time."
Kotak made his debut in 1992. He has a personal best of 168 in first-class cricket. In addition, he has played 89 domestic one-day games, scoring 3083 runs at an average of 42.23 with a highest of 122 not out. The announcement of his retirement comes one day before his 41st birthday.