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.

"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 said.

Imran said Indian players has 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.

The former fast bowler said that he would have hung up his boots if his team had suffered a similar consecutive overseas whitewash like Team India.

"I would have retired from cricket. I think if I was in a team that lost eight matches in a row I would have given up cricket. It's not the West Indies of 80s. But see who India has lost to - Australia and England. This Australia team hardly has won any series. You can't blame the fans for feeling upset," he said.

Imran said if India gives too much emphasis on Twenty20 cricket and IPL then it might be reduced to a "walkover team in Test cricket".

"India needs to think seriously... have they put too much emphasis on IPL, T20 cricket. It's great entertainment but how to compare T20 with Test cricket. Test cricket is the ultimate test of the skills of a player," he said.

"If India doesn't get the balance right, they are going to be just a walkover team in Test cricket."

On resuming Indo-Pak Cricket series, Imran said it is time to put the past behind and establish new relations between the two neighbouring cricketing nations.

"We have deprived the sub-continent of the pleasure of an Indo-Pak cricket series. The highlight of the World Cup was the semifinal between Pakistan and India. Let's put our past behind and move on. It's time for new relationship and new era," he said.

"We must go beyond Mumbai 26/11. Everybody in Pakistan condemned the person and the Mumbai incident. Even in Pakistan thousand people have died in terrorist attacks. It's time for new relationships and to resume Indo-Pak cricket series."

(Agencies)