India hockey captain Sardar Singh with fiance Ashpal Kaur, a former England under-19 hockey player. (Virendra Singh Gosain/HT Photo)
It took time and patience for the one-liners like, "Sardar Singh you are a great player, I like you," to have an impact.
It all started two years back, when India hockey captain Sardar Singh was surprised to find a message in his Facebook inbox. The sender was Ashpal Kaur, a former England under-19 hockey player. Initially, he was lukewarm but gradually the gritty player gave in and love blossomed.
"She wrote a lot of things on my Facebook page and one day I decided to meet her. I invited her for a match during the (2012) London Olympics but we couldn't meet," Sardar told HT.
After the Games, text messages, emails and long distance calls became routine but they weren't enough to bridge the distance.
"After three months, I decided to go to London and meet Ash and her family. I came back with a different feeling," said Sardar, a deputy superintendent of police in Haryana.
"I told my parents about how I felt and the first question was if she was a Namdhari!"
The family's query wasn't out of place. Hailing from the sect, Sardar, a midfielder, began his career with the Namdhari team.
The elders gave their nod but not before seeking the blessings of Thakur Udai Singh, the sect head.
The two are engaged but Ashpal will have to wait to tie the knot. The daughter of a hockey coach, she is currently on a visit to Santnagar, Sardar's village in Sirsa.
"The family wants me to get married as soon as possible but I want to see off the (2016) Olympics first," said Sardar.
It maybe duty first for the India captain but Ashpal is clear where her priority lies.