Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sania Mirza opts for Indo-Pak cross-border marriage

Sania Mirza playing an international tennis tournament
Sania Mirza, originally uploaded by Suresh Avadhanula.

On 29 March 2010, the media in India and Pakistan reported that India’s topmost woman tennis star Sania Mirza, 23, will marry Shoaib Malik, 28, the former cricket captain of Pakistan cricket team. Their marriage will be in April, 2010, as the news was confirmed to the media by her father Imran Mirza.

Shoaib Malik too confirmed the news by tweeting on Twitter that they would get married in April 2010. As per news reports, the wedding celebrations will be held in India and Pakistan. Marriage and receptions are expected to be held in Hyderabad, India, and in Lahore, Pakistan. After the marriage, the couple will be based in Dubai.

Sania met Malik in Dubai in February while she was playing a tennis tournament there and they liked each other. Now their families are looking forward to their marriage. Sania told the Times of India, “This is the biggest day of my life. I have been in the media glare for too long, and would appreciate a little privacy at this very personal moment in my life.’’

Sania said that she hoped she would be fully fit to represent India in the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. “I hope to be fully fit to represent India in the Commonwealth and Asian Games that are scheduled for later this year,’’ she said.

In her career, she had reached a high of 34 in world rankings, though she is currently placed at 92. Frequently troubled by injuries, Sania’s ranking has come down after a debilitating wrist injury that forced her take a break from tennis tournaments. Treatment for her injury continues and she will test her wrist in a tennis competition this summer, though she is targeting a return to international tennis late this year.

Shoaib Malik too has pledged his support for Sania, “I fully understand what it takes to be an international sportsperson. I’ll support Sania in her career as long as she wishes to play. Representing India at the 2012 Olympics is very important to her, and I will be the proudest husband if she can win a medal for her country.’’

Known for her powerful forehand ground strokes, Sania Mirza started her tennis career in 2003. In 2004 she was honoured with the Arjuna award by the Government of India.

In July 2009, in a much-publicized lavish ceremony, Sania Mirza was engaged to Sohrab Mirza, a family friend and a business man from Hyderabad, India, whom she knew from her school days. But on 28 January 2010, the engagement to Sohrab was called off, with Sania citing ‘incompatibility’ as the reason for their split. However, her father Imran Mirza claimed that Sania, Sohrab and their respective families continue to remain on good terms.

Born in Sialkot in Pakistan, Shoaib Malik made his One-Day International cricket debut in 1999 against the West Indies and his Test Cricket debut in 2001 against Bangladesh. He was ranked second, behind his teammate Shahid Afridi, in the ICC ODI all-rounder rankings in June 2008.

Incidentally, Malik is among seven top Pakistani cricket players who are serving a one-year ban imposed by the Pakistan Cricket Board on various charges during a recent tour of Australia. Pakistan lost all the three Test Matches, five One-Day International matches, and the only Twenty20 cricket match on the tour that ended in February. However, earlier this month, the Pakistan Cricket Board gave permission to Malik to play in a domestic Twenty20 league match in Bangladesh.

Though Sania Mirza's previous engagement and the subsequent breakup with Sohrab Mirza made headlines, Malik too had linkups and breakups in the past. Malik was involved in a marriage dispute with another Indian woman Alisha with whom he reportedly exchanged marriage vows in 2002, though he has denied the marriage news, claiming he had been cheated in the relationship. However, Sania’s family has downplayed the issue and made no comment on it. Also, in 2008, Malik was dating former Miss India and Bollywood actress Sayali Bhagat.

Sayali, who made her film debut opposite Emran Hashmi in the movie ‘The Train’, had hoped to keep her relationship with Malik under wraps. But the couple was spotted together in a hotel lobby. At that time Malik was also in news when Alisha’s parents claimed that he had married their daughter. But Sayali defended Malik by saying, “That was a marriage proposal that he said no to. Those allegations have been legally proved baseless. Shoaib was always single!” Sayali and Malik had met at a store inauguration in Delhi, and she had said, “Our religion is not an issue; I am more concerned about the distance between us.”

No comments: