The news of Sachin Tendulkar deciding to retire after his 200th Test next month came as a shock to Amitabh Bachchan.
"When I heard about Sachin's retirement, I felt the heart of India has stopped working for a while. But it also felt that the heart of Indian cricket stopped forever.
"I don't have words to praise him or express about him. He has been a phenomenal athlete, not just excelling himself in the game that he plays, but he has become a symbol of great excellence for the country," said the Bollywood megastar, at a function to celebrate his 71st birthday, in Mumbai, on Friday.
Tendulkar put an end to the intense speculation about his future when he announced on Thursday that he will quit the game after playing his landmark 200th Test against the West Indies.
"For him to retire from this is just unimaginable. We cannot imagine cricket will be the same without him.
"But we wish him all the very best. He has served the country for so many years and he has created so unbelievable a record that perhaps never ever will it be matched by any other individual," said Amitabh about the batting icon, whose 198 Test appearances have yielded 15,837 runs, at an average of 53.86, and includes 51 centuries."
India will play two Tests against the Caribbean side from November 6-10 and November 14-18, the venues of which are yet to be decided.
Video: Afsar Dayatar