Kolkata: Terming the Padma Bhushan award "an honour and privilege", former India cricket captain Rahul Dravid Thursday said he felt lucky to have represented the country for 16 years.
"It is a great honour. When you start playing you don't think about the awards. You just play because you just love it and there is no reason why you start playing this game.
"But along the way when you get awards and recognitions from the government of India, from the people of this country, it is a great privilege and honour," said Dravid during a felicitation ceremony organised by Rupa and Company Ltd.
President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the country's third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan to the 40-year-old Dravid on April 5.
The ace batsmen humbly acknowledged the opportunity to play cricket for India, a sport which is virtually a religion in this country.
"I am very lucky that I had the talent to play cricket for this country. It is the number one sport in this country, virtually a religion and I feel privileged to have played for my country.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more and on top of that to get the recognition and honour is truly a big privilege," added the Rajasthan Royals captain.
Rajasthan Royals take on home team Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League outing at the Eden Gardens on May 3.
Dravid said the mantra for a team's success is to "play your part well", "be adaptable" and "do things not in your comfort zone".
"When you are a part of the team or any organisation, it's very important to ensure that you play your part well. When you play in the team, it's not only about yourself, it's also what success you can give to your team and how well the team does," said Dravid.
Placed third on the standings table, Dravid's men have been raising the bar of the Indian Premier League matches.
"I think at the end of the season, if the team you're part of does very well, you can take a lot of credit from that. I think another key role is to be adaptable, to be able to do various roles, to do things that might not be in your comfort zone or you might not be used to," Dravid added. He also added that despite the odds, "trying your best" is also the key.
Rahul Dravid wished the Indian Premier League (IPL) allowed more foreign players in the playing XI than at present.
Currently, four foreign recruits are allowed in the playing XI while each franchisee can have 11 overseas players in the squad.
"We have a lot of very good foreign players. It is very difficult for us as we can only play four. I wish IPL would change that and get more foreign players, but it's not possible. Someone has to miss out," Dravid said at a function