From 2nd class citizens, we have emerged as big boys: Dravid

Mumbai: Former skipper Rahul Dravid on Tuesday said that the Indian cricket team has emerged from being "second class citizens" on tours to world cricket`s "big boys" in the last decade and a half.

"When I started my career in 1996 Indian team was considered as sort of second class citizens by England who made us play in the first part of the season and in small grounds. But now we have become the big boys of cricket and it is mostly due to the performance of the cricket team of which I was part of and also due to the BCCI officials," Dravid said.

Dravid, who announced his retirement from international cricket on March 9, was felicitated by the Cricket Board in a function attended by a galaxy of former and current India cricketers, BCCI officials and other dignitaries.

"I am sure the exciting and talented lot of cricketers will make Indian cricket a strong force on and off the field," he said after being awarded a silver salver by the BCCI as a memento.

"I am sure Mahi (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) and his team will take Indian cricket to greater heights," the batting stalwart said in the presence of former cricketers Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ajit Wadekar and Bapu Nadkarni among others.

Dravid has scored over 23,000 international runs and stands second behind Sachin Tendulkar in the all-time Test batting chart.