They look so good together that people are already talking about them being the perfect pair, but really they’ve seen so little of each other at this stage that they really need a bit more time together before the hyenas of the tabloid press start snapping at their heels.
Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan cricket captain, and former Miss India, Sayali Bhagat, first met up during the IPL cricket season and have been seeing each other whenever they can since then. Shoaib is trying to play down the relationship. “Sayali is a close and dear friend and that’s about it,” he says. Of course, it’s not unusual that at first in a relationship, it’s the woman that has to inject the most effort — it takes time, several decent meals and lots of ego-flattering to train a man — and certainly Sayali’s comments sound a bit more promising, “I believe when you want something from the heart — the whole universe conspires to get it for you,” she says wistfully.
Shoaib is more concerned at the moment with the outrageous decision of the ICC to cancel the Champions Trophy in Pakistan. “The postponement of the Champions Trophy was a big blow for us,” he explains, “But we have to leave it behind and get ready for the next assignment.” That next assignment is a three-leg tournament in South Africa with Sri Lanka which will test his ability as the cricket captain.
Sayali made her debut opposite Emraan Hashmi in The Train. She had a demanding role as the mother to a very sick five-year-old and with a philandering husband. She will next be seen in Good Luck. How did she get to be Miss India? “My dream was always to become Miss India at school,” she remembers, “The other kids would write about becoming an astronaut or a doctor, but I wrote about becoming Miss India. I decided to give it a shot after I had finished my 12th grade — you should always follow your dream. I had that long summer vacation, and so I thought why not? At first, there were about 3000 applications, so I didn’t really expect to get anywhere. But then 3000 became 150, and then 150 became 10 and then from the top 10 to the top 5, to the top 3. It all happened so quickly.”