Islamabad: Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has again denied that he has married an Indian girl, but one of his friends says he has admitted getting "engaged" to her.
Shoaib clarified that he liked Ayesha, a girl in Hyderabad in southern India, but never married her.
"I liked Ayesha and I told my family about it. Elders of both the families discussed the matter but the chapter was closed after they couldn't agree on certain things," Shoaib told a press conference in Lahore Tuesday.
Mohammed Ahmed Siddiqui, a man in Hyderabad, has claimed that Malik married his daughter Ayesha in 2002 and that the cricketer later abandoned her. He last week said that he wanted Shoaib to accept the marriage to enable a legal divorce.
Shoaib stressed at the press meet that he had never cheated the girl. "I can never think of cheating a girl and since it was something which disturbed me. I am here to clarify the matter."
But one of his close associates said the cricketer had told his friends that he had got "engaged" to an Indian girl and had mentioned Ayesha's name.
He had also reportedly told Geo TV in an interview that his fiancĂ© lives in Saudi Arabia. "I am engaged and my would-be wife lives in Saudi Arabia," he had said.
"I can't say what went wrong and why they fell apart," his friend told IANS, requesting anonymity.
The all-rounder, who was appointed Pakistan captain after last year's World Cup, told reporters that his brother-in-law Imran Zafar would handle the media regarding this issue.
Zafar alleged that Ayesha's family was exploiting Shoaib and his celebrity status. "We are not denying the fact that Shoaib had an affair with a girl named Ayesha on the Internet almost six years ago.
"Shoaib had planned to marry her and Mohammad Siddiqui claimed she was his daughter. But the photographs they showed of Ayesha to Shoaib were not those of their real daughter. They had been cheating Shoaib," Zafar claimed.
He said they would travel to India soon and file a case against Siddiqui. "We cannot allow anybody to defame Shoaib like this."
Zafar pointed out that Shoaib will feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in April-May and wants to clear his name before the mega event. He will reportedly receive $350,000 for featuring in the star-studded League.
"I believe this issue will be settled before the IPL," he said.
Mohammed Siddiqui, a retired employee of Saudi Airlines in Jeddah, had alleged last week that Shoaib abandoned his daughter after marrying her legally.
"There should be a fatwa against him. My demand to him is to accept the marriage and divorce my daughter. She does not want to go back to a cheater like him. And we want our life back," Siddiqui had said.
He said that Ayesha met Shoaib during a cricket match in Dubai in 2002 where she was working as the vice-principal of an international school.
"It was Shoaib who called me and asked for my daughter's hand. Although I had objections to my daughter marrying a Pakistani boy, I agreed because both of them were keen," Siddiqui was quoted as saying.
Siddiqui claimed that the couple married on June 3, 2002 over phone with witnesses from both sides as per the Muslim law. Siddiqui had claimed that not only did the marriage take place, but that it was also consummated.
"I have the nikahnama issued by a Qazi in Sialkot," he said. Siddiqui, however, is not willing to produce proof of the marriage. "I will not give it now because my lawyer has advised me against it," Siddiqui had said.