Kolkata: Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan feels that iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar should have retired after the "ultimate high" of India wining the World Cup last year.
"We all want to go with a big bang but you always don't get it right. For Sachin the ultimate time to go was after that World Cup win. He had such a great World Cup. He is a great player and there is not replacement for him," Imran said. (Related read: Imran blames IPL for India's folly)
"He has to decide for himself and he must time it right. You don't want to go having lost to Australia 4-0. If he had gone after that World Cup, that would have been the ultimate high," Imran told a news channel.
Imran said Indian players have the right to decide when they want to retire and the management should first get the replacement for them.
"It's a very difficult question for a sportsman to know when to leave...It's a very difficult decision and many great players have not got it right," he said.
"For Indian cricket, it's not one player now but three or four would have to take decision. But the big question is whether you have got their replacement. If the gap between the young and old player is too much then you have to stay with the old players."
Asked about Tendulkar's impending 100th international ton, Imran said it doesn't matter whether he gets that elusive hundred or not as statistic doesn't matter for a great player.
"Records must be broken within the team winning. You should not be playing to break records. Records should be part of the win. Sachin is a great player. Would I think of Sachin whether he is of 99 hundreds or 100 hundreds! No," Imran said.
"Greatest player I've played is Viv Richards. I don't need to look at his records. He is great because he loves challenges. Records are after all statistics and statistics did not matter to great players," he said.