Friday is when Melburnians wake up after a week of work and head to the nearby shopping malls, eating joints, pubs and theatres. Located near tram station Harbour Esplanade is the DFO (Direct Factory Outlet) in the South Wharf region where most would go searching for discounts and steal deals. On usual days, much like most shopping outlets in the city, DFO shuts strictly by 6 PM. But on Fridays, it remains open until 9 PM local. Quick walk from the tram station, across the Webb Bridge and there you have it – loads of brands tempting you to lighten the load in your wallet.
Carrying the weight of million hopes for another T20 World Cup title, Pakistan cricketers Haris Rauf and Shaheen Afridi were certainly in a mood to keep the pockets light as they made their way to the busy shopping arena. It was a quick stop at a sports brand first where they obliged fans, mostly Indians, with a lot of pictures and were happy to have a conversation. Casually dressed in a sweater and black bottoms, airpods neatly tucked into one ear, Shaheen patiently heard what the Indians had to say.
Rauf, on the other hand, had a luxurious sweater paired with training shorts and finished the look with a tucker cap.
The duo patiently roamed about before making their way to another story, which wore a deserted look and allowed them to shop in peace. Rauf was the aggressive shopper as Shaheen was happy to wave back to passerbys and even obliged few enthusiastic Indians with selfies.
“Arey Shaheen bhai, aap ho? (is that you Shaheen brother),” a fan couldn’t hold his excitement back as he took the phone out for a selfie. Politely Shaheen smiled and posed before returning to his cup of ice cream. Meanwhile, Rauf went about trying slides and blazers.
“Paaji eh chak lo, trophy naal changi photo aani hai (brother take this blazer, will be good for the picture with the World Cup trophy),” I told Haris as he checked the fit of the blazer. He smiled.
“Sunday jitna hai tussi… (you have to win on Sunday),” I egged them on before he responded, “ki karna hai, twada badla lena eh? (you mean to take revenge on your behalf)”. We had a good laugh before Haris gave his friend approval for the white sliders.
Thumping win after miraculous qualification for semis
Pakistan’s qualification for the World Cup semi-finals was no less than a miracle and I was itching to bring it up with Rauf, as Shaheen continued to occupy the corner.
“Paaji waise kamaal karta tusi (you did great),” I quipped. “Asi ki kitta, sab unne kitta hai (It was all due to god’s grace),” he said while pointing towards the heavens.
Shaheen returned from knee injury for the World Cup and has certainly hit the right chord ahead of the title clash vs England. He had figures of 2/24 vs New Zealand in the semis and will be Pakistan’s key weapon against England at the MCG.
“All the best for the final, jit ke aana (do win),” I wish him luck before making my way towards the exit. “Inshallah puri koshish karenge (will try our best),” came the reply before the ice cream regained his attention.
(The writer is in Australia on the invitation of Visit Victoria)