By Omer Farooq
BBC News, Hyderabad
At a time when the flowers of friendship between India and Pakistan are blooming, an unusual love story involving a Pakistani cricketer and an Indian girl has caught everybody by surprise.
Malik remained in touch with Ayesha through the internet
When Pakistan's cricket team arrives in Hyderabad next week for a practice match, it will be an extraordinary occasion for one member of the team.
This is because the bowler, Shoaib Malik, will be meeting his in-laws.
His wife is Ayesha (aka Maha Siddiqui) - a Hyderabadi girl brought up in Saudi Arabia. She is an administrator in a Jeddah school, and is currently doing an MBA course.
But the two are yet to be formally wedded as they had performed their nikah (marriage) nearly two years ago over the phone.
Ayesha told the BBC that the two had met for the first time in Dubai in 2000 where Shoaib had come as a member of a Pakistani team and she was there with her family shopping.
Ayesha recalled that they first met accidentally at a hotel where she had gone for a meal and had left behind her keys.
A young man came to return the key and he later turned out to be Shoaib.
The friendship which started with that meeting ended with nikah over the phone (which Islamic Shariah law permits) on 2 May 2002.
Ayesha said a brother of her friend was a witness from her side and Shoaib's brother-in-law and friends acted as witnesses from his side.
The nikah was performed when she was in Hyderabad and he was in his hometown Sialkot.
It was much later that Ayesha broke the news to her parents through her cousin and - after initial surprise and disbelief - the family gave the consent.
It was ditto in Sialkot and now both the families are getting ready for a formal wedding in August after Ayesha is settled down in Pakistan.