Australia accused of 'shameless' act in cricket final at Comm Games

Tahlia McGrath, pictured here wearing a mask as she celebrated Australia's cricket gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Tahlia McGrath was wearing a mask as she celebrated Australia's cricket gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Image: Getty

The Australian women's cricket team have sparked controversy in their gold medal triumph at the Commonwealth Games after Tahlia McGrath was allowed to play Sunday's final despite testing positive for Covid-19.

Word came through just minutes before the final against India on Sunday that McGrath had tested positive, delaying the toss.

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But in controversial scenes, the Australian team decided that star all-rounder McGrath would still be allowed to play.

The Australian Commonwealth Games team said the decision was made in consultation with the International Cricket Council and Australian medical staff.

“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.”

Tahlia McGrath, pictured here sitting away from her teammates as she waited to bat at the Commonwealth Games.
Tahlia McGrath sat away from her teammates as she waited to bat at the Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Under relaxed Covid procedures at the Commonwealth Games, it is up to every individual country to decide what happens when an athlete tests positive.

Because McGrath only had mild symptoms it was decided she was allowed to play.

She was separated from her teammates during Australia's batting innings, sitting by herself and wearing a mask in the grandstand.

She removed the mask when she went out to bat, lasting just four balls before being dismissed, and was also maskless during Australia's bowling innings.

There were comical scenes when McGrath took a catch in the outfield before reminding her teammates not to come too close to her while celebrating.

However she did high-five teammate Jess Jonassen before they also tapped boots together - a celebration that gained popularity during the height of the pandemic.

McGrath also took part in the post-match medal ceremony, this time while wearing a mask while mingling with teammates and posing for photos.

Tahlia McGrath, Alana King, Jess Jonassen and Alyssa Healy, pictured here celebrating Australia's cricket gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Tahlia McGrath, Alana King, Jess Jonassen and Alyssa Healy celebrate Australia's cricket gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

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And while the Aussies followed all the protocols in place in Birmingham, a number of Indian fans and commentators were left fuming.

Sports reporter Naveen Sharma labelled the move “shameless” by Australia, tweeting: “Australians always preach about right or wrong but they forget everything when it comes to them."

Bloomberg News reporter Akshat Rathi wrote: “I don’t understand how the rules are allowing Tahlia McGrath on the field playing a cricket match after having tested positive for Covid-19. Dereliction of duty by authorities.”

Had the match been played in Australia, McGrath would have been forced to sit out and isolate for seven days, highlighting the ludicrous inconsistencies in Covid-19 policies.

Australia went on to win the gold medal, beating India by nine runs in a thrilling final.

The Aussies held on despite a brilliant knock by Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, adding Commonwealth gold to World T20 and ODI success.

Ash Gardner, the hero with the bat when Australia beat India to open the tournament, this time starred with the ball, taking 3-16 off three overs - including the match-turning wicket of Kaur.

with AAP

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