Birmingham, August 8: Australia women cricket team won the gold in Commonwealth Games 2022 but they landed in a massive controversy as a Covid-19 positive Tahila McGrath was allowed to play in the final against India.
Tahila’s test result came a few minutes ahead of the toss but the Australia team in consolation with Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) allowed her to play in the final.
So, how can a player play a match shortly after getting Covid-19 positive?
The rule in CWG 2022 is rather straightforward — it is up to the teams to decide the course of the action if a player tests positive for Covid.
Since Tahila had only mild symptoms, Australia decided to allow her to appear in the final.
We can say that the Aussies only followed the existing protocol at CWG 2022, but the danger of the virus percolating to other players was, perhaps, overlooked and that leaves the door open for many questions.
What happened in the match?
Tahila came out to bat at No 4 but was out for 2 in just 4 balls. She did not have any remarkable match with the ball either as Tahila conceded 24 runs in two overs.
Tahila was also seen sitting alone at the Grand Stand wearing a mask before she came out to bat.
Even her lone moment of the match ended up as a farce. Tahila took the catch near the boundary rope to dismiss India opener Shafali Verma off Ash Gardner but was not allowed to celebrate with her teammates.
But she did the boot tapping with teammate Jess Jonassen, a way of celebration that gained popularity among Aussie players during the pandemic.
Later, Tahila was part of the Aussies team that celebrated at the podium after winning the gold but she wore a mask unlike others.
The Indian team reaction
The Indian team led by Harmanpreet Kaur found about the Covid case in India camp during the toss and it was delayed. The Team India was a bit edgy about the presence of a Covid positive player in opposition ranks.
But they decided to continue as the Commonwealth Games 2022 protocols allowed the team to make its own decision and there was not enough time for India to take call too.
The CGA reaction
“Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) can confirm that cricketer Tahlia McGrath has returned a positive test for Covid-19,” the CGA said in a statement.
“CGA clinical staff have consulted with the Commonwealth Games Federation RACEG (Results Analysis Clinical Expert Group) team and match officials, and McGrath is taking part in today’s final against India.
“McGrath presented to team management with mild symptoms on Sunday and subsequently returned the positive test. She was named in the starting XI at the toss and the International Cricket Council (ICC) approved her participation in the final.
“In consultation with the CGF and the ICC, CGA and Cricket Australia medical staff have implemented a range of comprehensive protocols which will be observed throughout the game and for post-match activity, to minimise the risk of transmission to all players and officials.
“The CGA has maintained a comprehensive Covid-19 risk mitigation strategy for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, with testing protocols over and above those required by the Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee.”