In the recent past, Indian sports women have shone brightly, making their country proud in every event that they have represented their country in. From multi nation and multi sport events such as the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games to the professional sports like those of cricket, badminton and tennis, Indian women have competed at the highest level and come out with flying colours.
In fact, many Indian sportswomen have exemplified how marriage and motherhood has not stopped them from pursuing their flourishing sports careers and are thus idols and role models for the future generations of women who look to make a name in the field of sports
Just like any other profession, sport has also seen marriages between sportspersons of various fields. This article peeks into the life of five Indian sportswomen who went on to tie the knot with modern age cricketers.
#1 Sania Mirza
Perhaps the most famed marriage between a cricketer and a sportswoman, Indian tennis star Sania Mirza's matrimonial alliance with Pakistan cricketer and former captain Shoaib Malik began in April 2010.
The duo, who are today blessed with a baby boy after eight years of their nuptial alliance, married under controversial circumstances as the marriage was preceded by Sania calling off an engagement with a childhood friend of hers and Malik divorcing a woman he had earlier been married to.
However, they form one of the most famous sports couples as both of them continue to serve their respective nation in their field of sport. Sania, who has won six Grand Slam titles and rose to the numero uno position in the WTA rankings for Women's Doubles, was questioned on her nationality post marriage but the couple has handled all such situations intelligently and has thus proved that love knows no boundaries.
#2 Dipika Pallikal
For all us Indians who rarely follow squash, the name Dipika Pallikal is synonymous with the sport. Dipika, who started playing professional squash at an early age of fifteen, has always been someone who has stood for her rights and thus is a great ambassador for the upliftment of women in our country.
Apart from having won several squash championships, the 27-year-old Pallikal, who hails from Chennai, has won India a gold and two silver medals in the Commonwealth Games along with a silver and a couple of bronze medals at the Asian Games.
The face of Indian squash, Dipika married Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik in August 2015. In fact, Dipika's association with cricket began even before Karthik as she is the daughter of Susan Itticheria, who represented Indian cricket in seven Tests and two ODIs in the late 1970s.
#3 Ayesha Mukherjee
Born in India to a Bengali father and a British mother, and educated and married in Australia, Ayesha Mukherjee is a diverse personality in herself. The diversity does not end there as the professionally trained kick boxer went on to marry a cricketer- Shikhar Dhawan- after divorcing her first husband.
Shikhar and Ayesha have a story reminiscent to Bollywood love stories, as the duo met through Facebook, Harbhajan Singh being their mutual friend. Also, the fact that Ayesha is ten years older than the Delhi bloke and had two daughters from her previous marriage made their marriage questionable in the eyes of Dhawan's family.
However, the couple has come a long way as far as their marriage is concerned and Ayesha, who herself follows a strict workout routine, ensures that her husband is always fit. Lady Luck has seemed to shine over the left-handed opening batsman as he made his comeback into the Indian side post his marriage in 2012 and has since never looked back.
#4 Pratima Singh
Belonging to the famous quartet of 'Singh sisters', all of whom represent India in international basketball, 28-year-old Pratima Singh tied the nuptial knot with Indian pace bowler Ishant Sharma in December 2016.
Pratima started her playing career in 2006 and is still part of the Indian team that is led by her sister Akanksha Singh. Born in Varanasi, Pratima met Ishant at a local basketball match in Delhi where the latter was invited as chief guest.
Nursing an injury, Pratima was the scorer in that match and caught the attention of the lanky Indian pacer who was invited to the event by one of Pratima's sisters who happened to be his friend.
Indeed, the 5 ft 8 in tall basketball player served to be the perfect match for the 6 ft 4 in tall Ishant Sharma.
#5 Sheethal Goutham
Sheethal Goutham is a former tennis player whose career spanned between 2001 and 2010. She was coached by her brother Arjun Goutham, who was himself a tennis player. Sheethal, who started playing the sport at a tender age of nine was successful in the early phase of her professional career, although she could not prolong her career beyond her late 20s
Hailing from Bangalore, Sheethal went on to marry Indian cricketer Robin Uthappa, who also hails from the state of Karnataka. The couple married in 2016 after having known each other for close to eight years.
Uthappa, who could not make a remarkable comeback to the India team despite consistent string performances in the domestic circuit, continue to perform for his IPL franchise and claims that his wife has been his biggest support all through his playing days.