Kolkata, Sep 6: Amid the pitched battle over hosting Sachin Tendulkar's 200th Test, former India captain Sourav Ganguly has said it would be a fitting tribute if the Mumbai batsman plays the milestone match at his home ground.
"It would be the biggest thing if Tendulkar gets to play the 200th Test in Mumbai purely on emotional grounds. He has all his friends and family members there," Ganguly said on Tendulkar, who is two Tests shy of the milestone.
"At this moment, it seems it would be impossible for anybody to break the record of playing 200th Tests. It would be fulfilling moment for him," he said.
"Hope we all would be there. It would be a treat to watch Sachin take guard for his 200th Test. This moment would not come again, Sachin should enjoy the moment fully," said Ganguly who also hailed the BCCI's initiative to squeeze in the West Indies home series in view of Tendulkar's 200th Test.
The former left-hander said he would not like to speculate about Tendulkar's retirement plans but added it would leave a vacuum in the Indian cricket. "We have seen many retirements, like Gundappa Viswanath, Sunil Gavaskar, and in recent past Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. Players will come and go... Presently, it's an era of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja.
"But we would never see a player like Tendulkar again. The void that Tendulkar would leave would be hard to fill," Ganguly told a Bengali news channel on Thursday (September 6).
Reminiscing Steve Waugh's retirement in Sydney, he said Tendulkar should plan his retirement properly and make a prior announcement so that he could be able to play freely.
"We want to see him go with his bat held high, and we don't want to see a struggling Sachin. If Tendulkar retires by scoring a century, the same critics, who are after him now, would say he could have played a little more," Ganguly added.
Leander Paes is still going strong at 40 having made the semifinals in the ongoing US Open, and Ganguly said it's different for the tennis ace as it is an individual sport. "We should not compare him with Tendulkar as here the future lies with the selection," he said.
Indian cricket may be going through a difficult phase in the aftermath of IPL spot-fixing scandal but Ganguly said there could be more challenging times ahead. "I'm sure Indian cricket would overcome the phase. But I consider the next 16 months more challenging with the Indian team's tour of South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia," Ganguly added.