Ricky Ponting's decision to call it quits Thursday might have added fuel to the fire in the raging debate over Sachin Tendulkar's retirement, but India opener Gautam Gambhir feels his senior teammate still has a lot to offer.
"Nobody can force anyone to retire. Each individual knows when is the best time to retire. Ponting retiring doesn't mean that Sachin also has to quit now. It's an individual decision. They are from two different countries, two different individuals. So there is no question of a comparison," Gambhir said.
At a time when the 39-year-old Mumbaikar's place in the team has been questioned by critics, Gambhir went to the extent of saying that Tendulkar still has the "capability to make lots of runs for India".
"His presence in the dressing room itself is a big thing for the country. I am sure he will come out of it. Everybody goes through ups and downs. It's the sheer joy of playing the game, he loves playing.
"He is the greatest cricketer India has produced. Not just on the field, as a mentor he contributes off the field too. He still has the capability to make lots of runs for India," Gambhir said at an event here.
Coming back to Ponting, who today announced that he will retire from Test cricket after playing in the third Test against South Africa in Perth, Gambhir called him Australia's "best ever captain".
"He is a legend of the game. He has played cricket on his own terms, he is retiring on his own terms. His record in all three formats speaks for itself. He has been Australia's most successful captain ever."