New Delhi, Mar 25: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly feels the selectors are giving Sachin Tendulkar an "extension" to allow the Master Blaster to complete 200 Tests.
After speculations were put to rest on Sunday (March 24) on the retirement issue of Tendulkar, former cricketers felt that it was upto the man himself to decide his timing of quitting the game.
India don't play a Test series till November this year. Tendulkar has now played 198 Tests for the country and will complete 200 in South Africa later this year.
For the tour of South Africa, Ganguly felt that the team would need Tendulkar's experience there.
"Selectors are probably giving Sachin Tendulkar an 'extension' keeping his 200th Test milestone in mind. It would have not been the case had it been someone else. India would look forward to his experience on South Africa tour. His top form would be quite crucial in South African conditions," he said.
Pakistan's fast bowling great Wasim Akram said it's difficult to know Tendulkar's mind though he felt the Kotla Test could be the veteran batsman's last match on home soil.
"It looks like he has played his last Test on home soil. But it is tough to say anything about Tendulkar. It's difficult to day what he thinks and what is in his mind. You cannot speculate anything about him," Akram said.
Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar said it's for Tendulkar to decide on whether he is available when India next play on home soil or not.
"He (Tendulkar) is the greatest player India has produced. I don't want to comment on somebody's personal career. He's the best person to judge about his career. It's for him to decide whether he's available when India next play on Indian soil," said Vengsarkar.
India's 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev refused to speculate on the issue, saying that it's for the selectors or Tendulkar to decide.
"He might play for next three years or more, what's there for we, the formers players, to comment on this. It is up to the selectors for one series or more and it is upto Sachin to take the call. As far as we are concerned we will continue to admire whatever Sachin do in the 22-yard strip," said Kapil.
Former India spinner Erapalli Prasanna, however, suggested that Tendulkar may retire from Test cricket shortly.
"Going by the schedule, it is obvious for anybody to guess it is the last Test match for Sachin in India. But entirely it is up to the selectors and Tendulkar to take the call to play more Test matches or not.
"I would advise millions of Sachin's fans to watch closely the maestro in live action in the IPL, where he represents Mumbai Indians. Perhaps this is the only time Indian fans could watch Sachin play live," said Prasanna.
Former India opener WV Raman also felt that Tendulkar might have played his last match on home soil.
"Considering the schedule, we do not have home matches in the next two years, therefore it could be considered that Sachin has played his last match in India," Raman said.
Giving a cautious response on the issue, former batsman and chairman of selectors Chandu Borde said, "It's a million dollar question. It's difficult to predict when it's Tendulkar. You know never know... Retirement is a decision best left to him. I'm sure he will take an intelligent decision. Lalchand Rajput, former India coach and opener, said Tendulkar may take a call on whether to play on home soil or not after the Test series in South Africa.
"I think he will take a call after the tour of South Africa. India needs the experience of Tendulkar on that tough tour. India would need a good blend of experienced players and younger ones on that important tour," he said.