Shoaib Malik denies affair with Sayali Bhagat

August 30th, 2008 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Aug 30 (IANS) Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has denied reports of his making secret trips across the border to keep alive his affair with former Miss India and Bollywood actress Sayali Bhagat.Shoaib however admitted that Sayali was a “close and dear friend” whom he met at a promotional event during the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this year.

“Sayali is a close and dear friend and that’s about it,” Shoaib told IANS.

Media reports from across the border linked Malik with Sayali, the Bollywood beauty who made her film debut by starring opposite Emraan Hashmi in The Train.

Malik has been frequently travelling to India this year and in fact has been spending most of his off season there. When asked whether his relationship was the reason behind the trips, Malik said: “I’ve a contract with Reebok in India and have to go there once in a while for promotional activities. My friendship with Sayali has nothing to do with it.”

While Malik tried to play down his affair with the former Miss India, Pakistani media has been flashing reports on their romance.

But Malik said that he was more focused on his team’s next international assignment, the proposed three-nation tournament in South Africa involving Sri Lanka and the hosts next month.

“The postponement of the Champions Trophy was a big blow for us. But we have to leave it behind and get ready for the next assignment.”

Malik hoped his players will be ready for the challenge in South Africa.

The triangular event is being planned at the request Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which is trying to compensate for the postponement of the Champions Trophy which was supposed to take place here Sep 12-28.

There have been reports that Malik is likely to lose his captaincy following the resignation of PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf, who elevated the experienced all-rounder to the important position after the World Cup debacle last year.

Malik has been criticised for being a ‘weak’ captain in recent times and it is expected that he could lose the captaincy to either vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq or senior batsman Younis Khan.

But Malik said that he is not under any pressure.

“It’s an honour to lead Pakistan and I am doing it to the best of my ability,” he said.

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