Iconic cricketer Sachin Tendulkar today said that he will "continue to bat for India" in all spheres of life in his endeavour to bring smile on the faces of the common people.
"I will continue to bat for India even though my cricket has stopped, but I will continue to bat for India and try my best to give people of India a reason to smile," Tendulkar told reporters after being conferred Bharat Ratna by the President here. "It's the biggest honour for me and I am extremely delighted on receiving Bharat Ratna," he said.
"I am extremely proud to be born in this beautiful nation and I would like to express my gratitude to all the love, affection and support I have received for number of years."
Tendulkar, 40, and eminent scientist Prof CNR Rao were presented the honours at a brief function at Rashtrapati Bhavan's Durbar Hall attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Union ministers, Sachin's wife Anjali, daughter Sara and a host of dignitaries.
Master batsman Tendulkar, who retired from international cricket on November 16 last year, is the first sportsman to be bestowed with the honour.
"I would like to reiterate what I said a couple of months ago that this recognition, award I would like to dedicate this to my mother and along with her all the mothers in India who sacrifice their wishes, aspirations for their children so that their dreams come true," Tendulkar said.
He also congratulated Prof Rao for motivating youngsters to become scientists.
"I would like to congratulate Prof CNR Rao for the Bharat Ratna. He has been instrumental in motivating and inspiring youth of India to become scientists. I wish him all the happiness and good health."