Sachin Tendulkar is not alien to honours, but the cricket icon said the Padma Vibhushan, which he received from President Pratibha Patil [Images], in New Delhi on Monday, is close to his heart.
"I'm very happy, it's difficult to explain in words," an overwhelmed Tendulkar said, after receiving the award.
"In 18 years, I have received several awards, but this one is close to my heart. I'm happy that the government has acknowledged my contribution," he added.
The champion batsman, who is captain of the Mumbai Indians team in the ongoing Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition, is currently missing the action due to a groin injury.
Tendulkar's wife Anjali, who accompanied the cricketer at the prestigious ceremony, said, "I'm proud of him. Sachin plays from the heart and he does not need an award to perform better."
Swimmer Bula Chowdhury Chakraborty received the Padma Shri award from the President at the Rashtrapati Bhavan [Images].
Image: President Pratibha Patil presents Padma Vibhushan award to Sachin Tendulkar [Images] at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday. Photograph: Vijay Verma/PTI