Former England international Mark Ramprakash empathises from personal experience with the retirement decision that is soon to face India's great batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar is facing calls from some quarters to call it a day as his outstanding international career enters its twilight. England have restricted the Little Master to scores of 13, eight and eight so far midway through a Test series, which is level at 1-1 after the tourists' famously unexpected victory in Mumbai.
When Ramprakash retired almost six months ago, then aged 42, it was clearly one of the toughest calls of his life after a 25-year professional career, and he said: "When you have played the game with such dedication and professionalism as Sachin and Ricky Ponting - often they have put so much into the game - it can become difficult to realise 'I am not on it as I usually am'."
At the age of 39, and with the third Test looming in Kolkata next week, Tendulkar's future has become a hot topic in the sub-continent especially.
It is all the more so, perhaps, after Ponting - fellow record-breaking batsman and great contemporary of Tendulkar's - announced on Thursday that the ongoing Perth Test against South Africa will be his last for Australia.
Ramprakash, scorer of 100 first-class hundreds, never quite scaled the heights of Tendulkar and Ponting in international cricket that his imperious performances at county level suggested he should.
He added: "It is almost as though they are on auto-pilot. They train, they work hard and play and don't know any different.
"Going on my own experience, it can be difficult to realise you might be one per cent off it mentally or physically with training ... you're not quite on it - because you still believe you can do it."
His fellow ex-Middlesex batsman, Australian Test star Justin Langer, knew when the time was right.
"Justin said for him it was a relief to retire," added Ramprakash. "He knew he was not enjoying it and therefore giving up was a relief. It is a very difficult period for players who have played at highest level to give up."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sachin Tendulkar
- Ricky Ponting