Bangladesh's star player and formerly the nation's most eligible bachelor Shakib al Hasan is set to marry his American girlfriend Wednesday in a ceremony timed for 12/12/12, a friend and local reports said.
The 25-year-old cricketer, the world's leading all-rounder, will tie the knot with an American of Bangladeshi origin in a private family ceremony organised on the once-in-a-lifetime date, his friend told AFP.
"They want to make the occasion memorable by marrying on 12/12/12. But only a few people are invited in the ceremony," the friend said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A spokesman for the upmarket Ruposhi Bangla hotel in Dhaka said the couple would hold a small family party at the hotel. "To the best of my knowledge, it's a wedding party," he told AFP.
Shakib introduced his future wife, 23-year-old Umme Ahmed Shishir, to fellow cricketers on Monday during the Bangladesh-West Indies Twenty20 cricket match in the capital Dhaka.
According to Bengali daily Samakal, the left-arm spinner met Shishir, a Minnesota University graduate, in London in 2010 when he was playing for English county side Worcestershire.
Social media was flooded with photos of the couple. Comments from some heartbroken girls questioned the cricketer's choice in marrying an allegedly hard-partying expatriate.
Shakib, from the small western town of Magura, has been the mainstay of the Bangladesh team since he made his international debut in 2006. He is the country's highest-earning player and its only Indian Premier League player.
In the last three years, he led the International Cricket Council's all-rounders' rankings in Test and one-dayers.
Bangladesh's top fashion and advertising model Monalisa, who uses one name, is also marrying her American boyfriend in Dhaka. The couple will host a party at a posh club Wednesday night.
"12/12/12 is a memorable day. This magic day won't come again," Monalisa told reporters.