James Anderson wants to prolong his Test career with England but David Gower believes the seamer "might just be lying to himself" on his future.
Anderson is the leading wicket-taker for seam bowlers in men's Test match history but struggled for large parts of the Ashes against Australia, who retained the urn with a 2-2 series draw.
The 41-year-old managed just five wickets across four Tests, one fewer than England's part-time off-spinner Joe Root, as Anderson struggled to trouble Australian batters.
Stuart Broad finished as England's leading wicket-taker after 22 dismissals and called time on his career, with Gower suggesting it may be time for Anderson to do the same.
"Jimmy wants to prolong his career literally as long as possible," former England captain Gower told Stats Perform. "He is so adamant that thoughts on retirement are not in his mind.
"I don't know Jimmy personally that well, but I suspect that's just because he loves being part of a team.
"Nowadays, you manage workloads, and that management has allowed Jimmy Anderson to still be playing international cricket at the age of 41. He loves it so much he doesn't want to give it away.
"The slight issue could be that people will look at his figures in this series. He's beaten the bat, yes, not as often as normal. He's had catches dropped off his bowling, which always infuriates and also makes the figures look worse, of course, but there's been just a little tiny downturn in the way he's bowled.
"At some stage, you have to say right we need to look ahead to the next generation. [Josh] Tongue, for instance, came in and looked pretty good. He's sharper than Anderson.
"Will Jimmy Anderson want to go to India where there's every likelihood that five pitches might be turning pitches? They're not going to be Jimmy Anderson pitches, I would suspect.
"If he wants to go to India, fair play to him. But selectors might at this stage be thinking now is the time that we have to have a quiet word in his ear.
"You maybe miss India, ostensibly, you could still keep the door open. He might be worried that they might tap him on the shoulder.
"He may say to the rest of the world: 'No, no, no, I'm absolutely fine, still got years left in me' – but he might just be lying to himself."
England captain Ben Stokes has repeatedly reiterated his desire to keep Anderson within the Test setup, with the former and coach Brendon McCullum placing their full backing in the seam bowler.
Regardless of whether Anderson – who has 690 wickets in red-ball internationals – continues, Gower believes the England veteran's legacy will remain intact.
"For Anderson, if this is the end for him, and it's still a very big if, you still look back on 20 years with extraordinary figures," Gower added.
"Even just look back to the winter, his figures in the winter, on very, very good batting pitches. In Pakistan, he played a full part in what was a great team effort winning a series, 3-0 in Pakistan, which in my time, that didn't happen.
"You had dead games on good pitches, maybe two-and-a-half innings in the entire game that was it, dull draws. England made those wins happen.
"They had to take wickets at key times and Jimmy was part of that. So you look back over 20 years and say it's an extraordinary, almost unbelievable record that sticks to his name."