Mumbai, Oct 10 : Former West Indies captain and cricket legend Brain Lara today cautioned the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) against retiring all the top five players simultaneously.
At a press conference in Mumbai, Lara said, "I hope that it's a gradual process because you don't want five top players going out at the same time."
"That happened in the West Indies, back in early nineties, when we lost Sir Vivian Richards, Gordon Greenidge and Malcolm Marshall all at once, and you saw the effect of it in the downward spiral," said Lara, and added, "I wish that does not happen to Indian cricket."
Lara also said, "These guys have done pretty well, they are not in their late thirties. Sachin is may be 35, and Dravid has still got some years to go."
"It's something that India should be careful. Yes, you do want to see (the) young blood but you don't want to expose all of them at the same time," added Lara.
During the conference, Lara also appreciated Sachin Tendulkar, who just needs 77 runs to break Lara's world record of scoring the highest number of runs in Test cricket.
Lara, the 39-year-old left hander, had amassed 11,953 runs in 131 Tests whileendulkar is on the threshold of overhauling it, with 11,877 runs in 150 matches.
"I think, we have to appreciate Sachin for what he has done, he has been a great player. He has done well for India and I don't believe that a player should be marked; you know how many games he has won?" said Lara, adding, "He has saved India on many occasions and in crucial games."
Lara further said, "He is an outstanding cricketer and one of the greatest that have ever played the game."
A board official earlier said that India's Test captain Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Vangipurappu Laxman, all well into their 30s, had been told to plan their retirements by December.
A debate on their advancing ages began after last month's Test Series defeat in Sri Lanka where the 'fabulous four' Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Vangipurappu Laxman fared poorly.
Last week, former skipper of Indian cricket team Saurav Ganguly declared his decision of retirement after the Australia series.