Pak-India clash – Sania caught in battle of loyalty


NEW DELHI – A mini-battle of loyalty is simmering between star couple Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik as India gear to take on Pakistan in a high-voltage World Cup semi-final clash next week. Mirza, India’s top-ranked women’s tennis player, will be rooting for her country despite her marriage to former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik.
“I support India and Shoaib will support Pakistan as usual! The war is on,” Mirza wrote on her Twitter account from Miami where she is taking part in a WTA event. India booked a last-four World Cup berth against their arch-rivals after beating defending champions Australia by five wickets in the quarter-final in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
Pakistan made the semi-finals with a 10-wicket mauling on West Indies the day before. Mirza, 24, married Malik in Hyderabad in April last year amid a lot of hype surrounding the love-struck cross-border sport stars. Mirza said she would have loved to catch the semi-final action in Mohali next Wednesday but for her professional commitments.
“The last time they played in Mohali I watched the match live. What a semi-final on the line. Wish I could be there,” read another tweet from the tennis star. Malik and Mirza’s sporting marriage is unprecedented in the perennial rivalry between the South Asian nations, and some right-wing Hindu groups in India had denounced the union, accusing Mirza of betraying her country.
India’s doubles tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi also tweeted about the excitement that was building up ahead of the marquee match. “Enjoy it boys.. You’re half way there. We are dancing in Miami,” tweeted Bhupathi.