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Malik overwhelmed by warm reception in Pakistan

cricket Updated: Apr 23, 2010 12:55 IST

PTI
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Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik says he was "overwhelmed" by the frenzied reception he got on his arrival with wife Sania Mirza.

"I knew that the people were excited and happy with this union but I never realized we would get such a welcome, it was overwhelming," Malik, who arrived with the Indian tennis star in Karachi yesterday, said.

The celebrity couple, who tied the knot on April 12 in the Indian city of Hyderabad, were mobbed at the airport terminal building by an overexcited crowd.

Accompanied by Sania's mother they then flew in Islamabad and as state guests will attend official receptions by the Prime Minister and other dignitaries on Friday.

Shoaib said he was happy to see that his countrymen had responded with so much joy to his marriage with Sania.

"The whole experience is overwhelming and it is great to watch festivities unfolding in Pakistan," he said.

The Malik family has planned a civic reception for the couple in his hometown of Sialkot on April 25 and the Valima reception in Lahore two days later.

Malik said he was happy with the authorities had taken so much care of him and his wife on their arrival in Pakistan.

He also said that he had not given up hope of playing for Pakistan again.

"I have lodged an appeal against the ban and hopefully my appeal will be successful. I want to get back into the Pakistan team as soon as possible because cricket remains my passion," Malik said.

He said Sania is also very excited on the warm welcome.

"I thank everyone on her behalf," he said.

Imran Zafar, the brother-in-law of Shoaib said invitation cards for the two functions have been sent to leading cricketers and the government had also assured them extra security for the events.