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He did get married

Old TV clippings prove cricketer Shoaib Malik confessed to being married to Hyderabadi girl Ayesha Siddiqui.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2010 03:00 IST

The evidence is there for all to see. TV clippings dated 2005, show Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik confessing, in front of a packed stadium, that he was married. Malik has all along denied being married to Hyderabadi girl Ayesha Siddiqui. The expose, aired by a TV channel, comes a day after the announcement of his wedding to tennis star Sania Mirza.

Forgotten moments
The clip, from an Indo-Pak post-match ceremony in Hyderabad, shows a beaming Malik accepting congratulations for his marriage from commentator Arun Lal. Malik also said he scored well because he was playing in his “wife’s hometown”.

When HT City contacted Arun Lal to recall the moment, he said, “It’s his personal life, and I wouldn’t want to comment on it.” A lavish dinner party for the Pakistan team was also hosted that evening by Ayesha’s father, Mohammed Ahmed Siddiqui, at their Banjara Hills residence. The party was attended by Malik, the then Pakistan skipper Inzamam Ul Haq, and his teammates.

When contacted, Chief of Pakistan cricket Javed Miandad declined having any knowledge or memory of the incident. “I have not seen the TV clipping and would not want to comment on it. But Shoaib is a very nice and gentle boy,” said former Pakistani cricketer Mohsin Khan. The Siddiquis remained unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts.

Sania, meanwhile, kept a brave face in front of reporters on Tuesday and when asked to comment on Malik’s past, said, “We both live in the present and the past doesn’t bother me.”

Here come the protests...

Tennis star Sania Mirza and cricketer Shoaib Malik’s wedding announcement is, predictably enough, not being welcomed by some extreme right-wing groups.

“From our 10-crore Muslim population, Sania couldn’t find a single person to get married to,” said T Kannan of Hindu Makkal Katchi, a Tamil right wing party that’s planning protest against Sania in Tamil Nadu this Sunday.”If she wanted to marry a cricketer, we have better players in India than Shoaib,”said UP Bajrang Dal leader Prakash Sharma.

The Shiv Sena has decided to keep quiet for the moment. “Marriage is a personal choice. But any anti-national sentiment, won’t be tolerated,” said Shiv Sena leader Rahul Navrekar.

— Minakshi Saini