Newly-wed star couple Shoaib Malik and Sania Mirza, hounded by fans and the media since their arrival in Pakistan last week, have appealed to journalists looking for "masala" to respect their privacy and lessen the hype about their marriage.
In an apparent bid to address the Pakistani media's contention that the couple were not making any public appearances or speaking to journalists, Shoaib and Sania gave interviews to some TV news channels.
They also recorded their protest with the media for intruding into their life.
"The media needs masala (spice) but it must behave in a way that our personal life does not get affected," Sania said.
Shoaib added: "Besides being a husband, I have to play the role of a security guard."
Shoaib said he was happy to see the celebrations in Pakistan following his marriage but called on the media to reduce the hype associated with the event.
"This is the marriage of two persons, just like the marriage of any two normal persons," he said.
The cricketer said it was not as if the couple did not wish to talk to the media.
"The media never gave us a chance to talk. If you jump on someone, the person will take steps to protect himself," he added.
Asked by a TV news channel why she had not been seen smiling in public, Sania replied: "I cannot smile if I am stuck in a crowd and people are falling on me. The media reports that I had tears in my eyes when my mother fell after a crowd jostled us in Lahore are not correct."
"Actually I got worried as my mother got hurt and a normal person feels so in such a situation... I am very happy and have no problem in smiling. If I keep smiling all the time people will think I am mad," she said.
The couple said people in Pakistan had given them a "lot of love."
They also asked the people to pray for them.
In reply to another question, Sania said: "I am an Indian and will remain an Indian even after my marriage to a Pakistani. I will support the Indian team in the forthcoming T20 World Cup."
She said she also wished that Shoaib, currently serving a year-long ban, would "again represent his country."
Sania also said she was fond of food. "I like Indian, Pakistani and Chinese food. There is not much difference between Indian and Pakistani food."
"Hyderabadi dishes are spicier than the dishes here," she said, adding that she was not good at cooking though she could make tea.
She complained that she could not see Lahore in the daytime because of the media's constant presence.
"I only saw Lahore at night as we remained stuck in our hotel room during the day due to the media," she said.
Sania said she would undergo some tests on her injured wrist after the walima (reception) in Lahore. "We will leave for Dubai in a couple of days," she said.
Angered by allegations that he had sold invitations to the walima, Shoaib said: "This is rubbish. Those alleging that I sold my walima cards should get their mental status examined."
He clarified that he had received many lucrative offers to give coverage rights for the marriage but decided not to do so.
"We thought it was a happy occasion and we should not accept such an offer. There are many other ways to earn money," he said.
Shoaib, Sania Ask Media To Respect Their Privacy
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