Mon, 08 Aug 2022 09:26 AM IST
Australian all-round Tahlia McGrath tested positive for the novel COVID-19 infection on Sunday, hours before Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 final against India at the Edgbaston in Birmingham. However, the 26-year-old was still allowed to take part in the final.
Later, Australian officials said McGrath, who tested positive with mild symptoms on Sunday, was allowed to play after consultation with team and match officials along with Commonwealth Games Federation (CWGF) Results Analysis Clinical Expert Group.
In a statement, Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) said she was named in the playing XI only after the approval of the International Cricket Council (ICC). However, it did not outline what protocols were in place and would make no further comment.
"In consultation with the CGF (Commonwealth Games Federation) and the ICC, 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," it said.
"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."
Indian players, including skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, however, got a bit edgy after they found out that McGrath was COVID-19 positive. It should be noted that the Indian team itself suffered a COVID setback before its departure to Birmingham after Pooja Vastrakar and S Meghana tested positive at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.
"There was no time to react since the Indian team only found out about it at the toss. Obviously there was concern but it is the decision of the authorities," news agency PTI quoted Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) as saying.
McGrath did not line up with her team mates during the national anthems, but she came without wearing a face mask while she came out to bat. After exiting the field, she did not return to the dugout and sat apart from her team mates.
Her teammater, Ashleigh Gardner, said it was "unusual" for the team to have a COVID positive member in the playing XI.
"She said it was safe for her to play, obviously we didn't mingle with her so we all felt like we were safe enough out there," she said, as reported by Reuters. "It was just one of those things that was bound to happen to someone in this competition and unfortunately it was her."