Melbourne: Rumours are circulating in Australia that vice-captain Michael Clarke may marry model Lara Bingle sooner than later.
The Daily Telegraph quoted Clarke's manager as denying the news, but the glamour couple are reportedly preparing to announce their engagement just over a year after they got together.
They were pictured shopping yesterday in Brisbane soon after the Australian team checked into a hotel.
Walking hand in hand, they looked every bit the happy couple.
Clarke had plenty to smile about after captaining Australia to a Twenty20 win over India in front of 84,000 spectators at the MCG on Friday night.
According to the Courier Mail however, Lara was in hiding on the Sunshine Coast.
The marriage speculation was running hot all weekend, with reports that Pup (Clarke"s nickname) has splashed out on a five-carat diamond ring for his future wife.
Papers here are predicting that an announcement could be made before Clarke goes on a tour with the Australian team to Pakistan.
Last month, Bingle admitted that she fears for Clarke if he tours strife-torn Pakistan in March 2008, adding that she "can't stop him from going".
Cricket Australia is yet to decide if the team will tour Pakistan, where violence erupted after the December assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.
Bingle says it is hard to be separated from Clarke, who is on cricket duties nine months of the year.
"I take it day-by-day. I don't like to know too far ahead (where he is going and how long he will be gone). Otherwise you'd get too upset thinking, 'Oh no, you're going away for three months'," the Sunday Herald quoted Bingle, as saying.
The couple recently celebrated their first anniversary of being a couple together with a simple taco dinner at Bingle"s home.
Bingle, 20, who reportedly signed a 50,000 dollars contract to become the face of Speedo's fashionable beach collection, quashed speculation that she was moving in with the batsman.
She said that she modelled the new Speedo range exclusively for the Sunday Herald Sun this week, and added that she is celebrating a career boost after becoming the new face of swimwear company Speedo.
Bingle, the former face of the controversial "Where the Bloody Hell Are You?" Australian tourism campaign claims responsibility for Clarke's sharp new look.
"I did it myself," she says. "I love it, I think it looks more masculine."
Clarke credits his happiness with Bingle as part of his recipe for on-field success. And Bingle appreciates the positive impact he has had on her.