Babar Azam and Bismah Maroof receives Pakistani civilian medal (Sitara-e-Imtiaz)

Babar Azam called the award "an immense honour"

The Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s third-highest civilian honour, has been given to Pakistani captain Babar Azam. During a ceremony in Lahore on Pakistan Day—a national festival in the nation—he was presented with it. 

By defeating Pakistani cricket captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, 28-year-old Babar becomes the youngest man to ever hold the distinction. 

In Karachi in 2018, at the age of 31, Sarfaraz received the Sitara-e-Imtiaz award. The fourth-highest honor, the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, has been given to Bismah Maroof, a former captain of the Pakistan women’s team. A Pride of Performance Award was given to Masood Jan, a former Pakistani blind cricketer.

Last year on August 14, Pakistan’s Independence Day, the Pakistani government declared that it will honour Babar Azam for his efforts in the game of cricket by presenting him with the award. Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, and Misbah-ul-Haq are among the other former cricketers who have received this honour, in addition to Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, and Shahid Afridi.

In dedicating the honour to “his parents, fans, and the people of Pakistan,” Babar called the honor “an amazing honour.” He received congratulations from a wide range of players, including Kamran Akmal, Ajmal, Shahnawaz Dahani, Saim Ayub, and Mohammad Haris.

Babar is one of the best cricketers of his generation and one of Pakistan’s all-time great batters. He made his international debut in 2015 and has since gone on to become one of the best players in the world. 

His 17 ODI hundreds have already moved him into second position all-time in Pakistan, and his 59.41 career ODI average tops all players with at least 2000 runs scored. After a shaky beginning, he has become an elite Test batter. He was a member of the team that won the Champions Trophy in 2017.

In the format, he has 3696 runs, nine hundreds, and an average of 48.63. He has made two of Pakistan’s four T20I hundreds and leads Pakistan in runs scored in T20 Internationals with 3355 runs at an average of 41.41 and a strike rate of 127.80. 

Before being appointed to the Test captaincy in 2021, he was selected the captain of the ODI and T20I teams in 2020. He served as the captain of the ODI Team in 2022 and was selected as the ICC Men’s Cricketer of that year.

The Tamgha-e-Imtiaz is now held by Maroof, who follows Sana Mir as the second female cricketer to obtain it. She dedicated the prize to her father, who “stood by me through thick and thin,” and said she was “humbled and honoured.” 

After taking over as Pakistan’s captain in 2013, Maroof, 31, held the position until 2020, when she took a break from the game to give birth to her baby. Before resigning earlier this month, she assumed the captaincy after her return and led the team during the just-completed T20 World Cup.