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Rivals on field, buddies off it

- Women cricketers shop at Bhubaneswar mall

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 2: They may be rivals on the field but off it, they all love shopping.

Women cricketers from South Africa and New Zealand taking part in the ongoing World Cup dropped in at a mall on Saturday near Jayadev Vihar here and shopped to their heart’s content.

The cricketers visited almost every store of the mall and went on to purchase electronic goods, books, garments and accessories.

“Touring the world as a sportsperson helps you visit different markets and experience and enjoy shopping for various items that are better made or less expensive in certain parts of the world. Here, my friends and I loved the sporting gear at some stores. We bought many Kookaburra items as well as tracks and jackets,” said Suzie Bates, captain of the New Zealand team.

“We also checked out some local outfits and had a lot of fun this evening,” said Bates, who had scored 72 against South Africa in their opening match at Cuttack. New Zealand won the match by 150 runs.

But no rivalry was seen between the two teams at the mall. While some of the cricketers were busy looking for sports shoes and cricket gear, others bought electronic products, especially mobile phones and cameras.

“I found mobile phones and cameras of good brands quite cheap here. I was looking for some smart phones and tabs and of course a few cameras to take back home for me and my friends. I loved shopping them here. The people were very courteous and helpful,” said Shandre Fritz of South Africa.

Members of both the teams went around the mall for more than two hours. Security personnel and Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) accompanied them.

“The girls had a day off today and so they wished to shop. We ensured that they experienced a friendly atmosphere during their trip outside the hotel and stadium,” said Naba Patnaik, an OCA official.

Shop-owners also extended warm hospitality towards the visitors. “We were delighted to have international cricketers at our shops. We tried to guide them and help them so they felt comfortable and at home in Odisha,” said Ashish, a shop-owner at the mall.