Pakistan skipper Babar Azam Thursday was conferred with the country's third-highest civilian award Sitara-e-Imtiaz, making him the youngest Pakistani cricketer to be bestowed with the coveted honour.
As part of Pakistan Day celebrations, Governor Baligh Ur Rehman conferred Babar — Pakistan’s all-format captain — with the award during an investiture ceremony held at the Punjab Governor House.
Following the conferment, the 28-year-old cricketer has become the youngest cricketer to receive the Sitara-e-Imtiaz for his outstanding achievements in the field of sports.
Taking to Twitter, the skipper dedicated the honour to his parents, fans and people of Pakistan.
"Immense honour to have received Sitara-e-Imtiaz in the presence of my mother and father. This award is for my parents, fans and the people of [Pakistan]," he tweeted along with his pictures posing with his family.
Previously, Sarfaraz Ahmed — Babar's predecessor — held the record as the youngest person to be awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz.
Sarfaraz, who led Pakistan to the Champions Trophy title in 2017, was conferred with the award by then Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair at the Governor House in Karachi in 2018.
Last year on August 14, the government announced that it will be conferring Babar with the country’s third-highest civilian honour.
Babar made his debut in international cricket in May 2015 against Zimbabwe. His performances eventually led debuts to T20Is and Tests in 2016.
In 47 Tests, Babar has scored 3,696 runs with an average of 48.63, while in 95 ODI's Babar has scored 4,813 runs at an average of 59.41. In 99 T20Is, Babar has amassed 3,355 runs at an average of 41.41.
Babar, in his ongoing cricket career, has won multiple awards including ICC Men's ODI Player of the Year, Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy. Under his captaincy, Pakistan defeated India for the first time in a world cup match and also reached the finals of the last T20 world cup.
Apart from Babar and Sarfaraz other cricketers that have received the award include Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, and Shahid Afridi for their outstanding contributions.
While Mohammad Yousuf received the award in 2011, Saeed Ajmal in 2015, Inzamam ul Haq in 2005 and Javed Miandad in 1992.
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