Let’s play a love game.

Our tennis world is resembling more and more an episode of the Bold and the Beautiful these days.

You know!? The one where two star-crossed lovers come together despite the feud between their countries, only to find out that the groom is already married! Over the phone! To a woman he’s only ever “met” on the internet!

It’s as if someone rewrote Willy Bard’s work with elements of modern technology, ancient divides, media frenzy and police investigation.

Mirza, who broke off her engagement with a childhood friend earlier in the year, announced in March that she was to wed Pakistan’s former cricket captain, Shoaib Malik on April 15. This high profile marriage between India’s top tennis female tennis player and a well-known Pakistan’s cricketer has sparked controversy from the outset.  In India, the rightwing Hindu nationalist political party – the BJP – has asked Mirza to “reconsider” her decision to marry a Pakistani.

Well … if this is their idea of “asking”, that is.

Pakistan – on the other hand – was thrilled by the announcement, with the nation’s minister for population welfare vowing to give the couple a “family planning kit“. As an uncultured Australian, the first thing I think of when it comes to “family planning” is a condom, which is a rather strange wedding gift.

But perhaps it’s simply the Pakistani government’s code name for a dip bowl?

But wait, there’s more.

A woman from Sania’s home town Hyderabad – Ayesha Siddiqui – has come forward to claim that she is already wedded to Shoaib.

According to allegations, Ayesha and Shoaib had an internet romance, which led to the pair being married over the phone. They even have a marriage license to prove it.

Umm … to the extent that it appears to be hand written on lined paper and signed anyway.

Three years later, Ayesha’s father declared that the marriage was over, but Shoaib was refusing to grant Ayesha a divorce.

Shoaib initially denied that a marriage ever took place. He now claims that Ayesha forced him into taking part in a nikah – Muslim marriage ceremony – over the phone, and that a phone nikah isn’t valid in Islamic law.

In any case, Shoaib claims that he was deceived into this alleged marriage because the woman he believed to be ‘not-marrying’ – the woman whose photographs he had seen – was not the woman he actually ended up not-marrying.

In other words, dude got wife-swapped.

Shoaib’s sympathisers understand. After all, who hasn’t been conned into a marriage over the phone to the wrong woman after a lengthy internet romance? “How could a hot young cricketer choose to marry someone who looks like that?” his supporters asked, pointing to the photos of Ayesha.

But the Ayesha supporters were having none of that. They know the real Shoaib Malik. He’s a fool! He’s a cheat! He should leave India and go back to Pakistan! Ayesha justice! *ajde doublefistpump*

In a final twist, the woman in the photographs shown to Malik – the one he thought he was ‘not-marrying’ – turned out to be a woman named Maha. Malik now claims to have actually met Maha back in 2005 and thought she was an older relative of Ayesha, his non-wife.

Oh stop it. I’m confused! But then again – a good soap opera will do that to ya.

So who’s marrying the-what-now?

xx doots



14 responses to “Let’s play a love game.”

  1. FortuneCookie says :

    I was lost by about the 3rd paragraph,imagine how Sania feels…
    And yup,I’m scratching my head over ‘family planning kit’ as well,surely they can’t actually mean condoms and the Pill right?!

  2. evie says :

    I thought I was going a little nuts earlier when I said to myself, “But isn’t she ALREADY engaged??” I guess I missed the part where she and her first finaceé broke up. Thanks for clearing that up.

    What a circus. And I just read that he got a divorce from his non-wife, clearing the way for marital bliss with Mirza. I’m sure they will live happily ever after.

  3. pban says :

    Fact is there are tv interviews given by Shoaib way back in 2004 acknowledging his marital status,so the denials are ridiculous .As for Sania’s choice in men ….Shoaib is facing a one year ban for match fixing and is the same guy who apologised to Muslims all over the world for losing a cricket match to India(the irony being that the match winner was an Indian Muslim).As for Sania the only reason I care if she is still playing is because our broadcasters have the unfortunate habit of subjecting us to her horror shows, a fact which is most irksome if Feddy is playing….I rest my case (and I am Indian by the way)

    • dootsiez says :

      hahaha pban I knew you were Indian. I’ve heard about Shoaib’s ban, even for someone who is not a fan of cricket. But Sania must do whatever makes her happy. This whole affair was ridiculous though – it was like he had *hoped* no one would remember that he was already married.

  4. sita says :

    Dude seems to have signed the divorce papers and decided to move on/ go ahead with the wedding.

    No one seems to have noticed that the ‘Curse of Gillette’ has claimed yet another victim.
    (Shoaib Malik apparently is the gillette model for his country)

    • dootsiez says :

      *No one seems to have noticed that the ‘Curse of Gillette’ has claimed yet another victim. (Shoaib Malik apparently is the gillette model for his country)*

      :O :O And so is Michael Clarke here in Aus, who recently broke off his engagement to his model gf because of a shower-photo scandal.

  5. Anjali says :

    One additional wrinkle to the plot (adding my two paisa as a native informant from Bombay here)–the Shiv Sena (the friendly kin of the BJP here) is demanding that Mirza now play tennis for Pakistan, since wives are meant to follow their husbands. The weird thing here is that the Pakistan Tennis Federation has come out and demanded that Mirza play for Pakistan as well. The solution: the two will now live in Dubai where their tax free dinars will help them to assist any nationalist cause they choose.
    The only bright side to this tamasha is that we can now think of Islam as a differentiated complex cultural practice, full of soap opera and drama, rather than only its cliched and maligned terrorist form. And also, the affective part of this whole affair alerts us to the larger problem here — jingoism and Hindu-right militancy — rather than the fact that the two are secular Muslim sports icons (i.e. not Muslims who do not practice Islam, rather Muslims who practice Islam without intolerance). Too bad, it is Malik though. HE is indeed a complete idiot.

    • dootsiez says :

      I heard about that too. Jingoism exists in every culture, be it Islam, Hinduism or even in Australia. The tricky part determining at what point do you stop excusing it on the basis of “cultural differences”. Surely, Sania should get to play for whoever she wants to and be the national of the country she grew up in.

  6. Anjali says :

    Ah, dootsiez, jingoism is a by-product of colonialism (settler and otherwise), and Australia (having been there several times) is a hot-bed of it all. In fact, I’d say that the spaces that are most prone to the kinds of dogmatic frenzy that is dangerous and unsportsmanlike (to use a nice old-fashioned word!) are those with histories of violence such as Australia. Let’s not forget the kinds of discrimination Evonne Goolagong had to face as an indigenous player, and how odd it is that Australia has not managed to produce (in cricket or tennis) any great players of colour (and now you have Margaret Court spouting homophobic nonsense, young tennis players spewing racist epithets in matches, the list goes on !!) All I want to say is that sure Mirza/Malik provide an amusing side-show of gender, sports and religious ire, but there are plenty of other geopolitical locations that we don’t talk about where such matters continue in more sustained but less spectacular fashion. Okay, end of diatribe. let’s go back to the normal sports banter.
    Ta much for your thoughtful and amusing posts

  7. cecilia says :

    gosh i got lost after the part where he said he was forced to married that woman

  8. Anon says :

    BTW – there’s another twist; the reason Shoaib finally ‘fessed up to the marriage is that Ayesha kept the evidence of . . . .consummation . . . Monica Lewinsky style

  9. srdjana says :

    I’m wondering who has worse taste in men – Sonia Mirza or Patty Schnyder? Is this one cricketeer/Gillette spokesmodel really worth the hassle?

  10. Chairman, Federer Puny Left Arm Society says :

    Chairman feels that Sania is not being too smart here. Marrying someone you love is one thing. Marrying a douchebag is another. If you are in love with a douchebag, you have got a problem.

    As we know, Monica Seles only dates Billionaires (that is Billionaire with a “B”). Noting wrong with the love with the “B” but the guy is 68 years old and is being investigated for tax fraud among other things.


    But that was not her only fling. She was with another billionaire of Microsoft fame, Paul Allen. There are no reports of her dating lesser humans, like millionaires, for example. True love indeed.

    Sania’s wedding is not about love. It is about something else, I am not sure what it is. But I just want to wish her wedded bliss and no more surprises from her fiance’.

  11. srdjana says :

    It comes as no surprise Monica would date older, given her close relationship with her father, who remains the only truly healthy example of a tennis dad. She hardly needs the cash, and she was notoriously wise with her own earnings. If she wants to date men who can dote on her and spoil her, why not?

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