Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan joined the debate on Sachin Tendulkar's future, saying the senior Indian batsman should call it quits at the top of his game instead of leaving himself at the "mercy of selectors".
"Sachin is such a great player but I can only say if I were in his position, I would want to leave on a high and my greatest worry was that I should never be at the mercy of the selectors," Imran told NDTV.
The future of Tendulkar, who has spent over two decades in international cricket, is being debated after he was bowled out thrice on the trot during the Test series against New Zealand recently.
Asked if a player of Tendulkar's calibre could ever be on selectors' mercy, Imran said, "No, but why put yourself in such a position. I mean Sachin, what a brilliant record he has. Would he not want to?
"Again I put myself in that position, my greatest worry was that I would not be able to perform best to my abilities.So people will not remember me for when I was at the peak but when I was leaving my career."
Imran said Tendulkar should be the sole person to decide his future.
"I think Sachin is such a great player and people are emotionally attached. I can understand the Indian public, who has been watching him for 23 years. They can't imagine life without Sachin.
"But from Sachin's point of view, knowing that the kind of pride that he takes in his cricket. There must be a time when he should decide that this is the right time to leave," Khan said.
Imran also reflected on his own career and his decision to retire after the 1992 World Cup.
"The reason I retired was because I did not want to be at the mercy of the selectors. I wanted to go out at my peak. The only reason I kept playing was for the cancer hospital," he said.
"The board of governance told me that if you get out of cricket you won't be able to collect money. That's the only reason for which I kept playing. Having seen those heights, I just did not want to be at the mercy of selectors or people saying it's the time you should leave.
"That's why I respect Sunil Gavaskar. He left, he could have gone on. Sunil had one of the best defensive techniques I have seen in a batsman. Given that technique, he could have gone on but he left at the peak," he added.
Photograph: Arko Datta/Reuters