Pakistan captain Babar Azam earned one of the most prestigious awards in a ceremony that took place in Lahore on Thursday, March 23. The right-handed batter received the country's third-highest civilian award Sitara-e-Imtiaz for his outstanding contribution in the field of cricket.
The 28-year-old has been Pakistan's batter across formats, scoring heaps of runs against top sides in pressure situations. He averages well above 40 in all three formats of the game.
Babar Azam received the ICC's top awards for 2022, including the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Men's Cricketer of the Year in 2022, the ICC ODI Player of the Year award, and was named skipper of the ICC ODI Team of the Year.
The star cricketer took to his official Twitter handle and acknowledged the award to his parents. At 28, he is also the youngest to be conferred with the accolade and joins the list of esteemed Pakistan cricketers such as Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, and Shahid Afridi, who have also received the same.
The likes of Wasim Akram, Mohammad Hafeez, Muhammad Haris, and Shadab Khan congratulated the Pakistan captain for the accomplishment.
Babar Azam rested for the T20I series against Afghanistan
Selectors have decided to rest players like Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Shaheen Shah Afridi from the upcoming three-game T20 series against Afghanistan, set to commence on March 24 in the UAE.
All-rounder Shadab Khan will take charge; however, all the first-choice players are expected to return for the home series against New Zealand.
Pakistan's all-format captain had an outstanding campaign in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) this year, ending as the second-highest run-getter. He mustered 522 runs in 11 games at an average of 52.20 and a strike rate of 145.40. Wicketkeeper-batter Rizwan finished as the highest run-scorer in PSL 2023 with 550 runs.
However, Babar's form did not help Peshawar Zalmi clinch the title as they lost to defending champion Lahore Qalandars in the second Eliminator. The Qalandars also won the final, beating the Multan Sultans by one run.
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