Sania Mirza will be watching Shoaib Malik playing his 250th ODI in Match 12 of Champions Trophy 2017 © Getty Images
Sania Mirza will be watching Shoaib Malik playing his 250th ODI in Match 12 of Champions Trophy 2017 © Getty Images

While India have already become the first team to qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 semi-final from Group B, it all zeroes down to Pakistan-Sri Lanka clash on Monday to decide the second team to qualify from the group. It is not just an important occasion for Pakistan as a team, but also for their stalwart Shoaib Malik, who will be playing his 250th ODI. Malik made his One-Day International (ODI) debut against West Indies in 1999. His better half and Indian tennis star Sania Mirza was all praise for the middle-order batsman. She credited Malik’s commitment towards Pakistan and his passion for cricket as reasons to come so far. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sri Lanka vs Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Match 12

On this special moment, Sania said while talking to Pakistani journalist Abdul Ghaffar: “It shows his [Malik’s] commitment to Pakistan and to cricket. I have always known him as someone with full of passion for playing and for representing his country. It’s a proud moment for all of us, for his mother, for his brother and sisters and for myself too. We are very proud of him of everything he has achieved.”

As Sania is busy with her commitments for tennis, phone calls kill the distance between the two. “Lot goes into coordinating and phones really help us. We spend a lot of time apart. Obviously, being two professional athletes,” she said.

“I get lucky because in Australia as well, the Pakistan team was there when I was in Australia. Sometimes our schedules match and I had this week off, instead of going back to India or Dubai, I came here. So good change for me to watch some cricket as well,” said a happy Sania.

Sania would also be watching Shoaib play his 250th ODI. “It has been great, however, I haven’t watched that many. I have watched some as I was participating in Paris. I watched the last match live where Pakistan beat South Africa. I will watch the match against Sri Lanka. I did watch India’s couple of matches as well,” she signed off.