Commonwealth Games organisers slammed after cricketer with Covid plays in T20 final

Australia cricket at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games Federation, Commonwealth Games Australia and the International Cricket Council have been criticised after allowing a player with COVID-19 to compete in the T20 final. 

Australia’s Talia McGrath tested positive for COVID-19 on the morning of her country’s cricket gold-medal match against India. 

After checking with the relevant authorities – causing a 12-minute delay to the toss – McGrath was permitted to play at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham. 

The 26-year-old sat away from her teammates in a face mask as she waited to bat, but removed it as she entered the field and scored two runs from four balls.

McGrath then took a catch in the third over during India’s innings, waving away her team-mates as they ran over to celebrate. 

The match went right down to the wire, but Australia eventually secured a narrow nine-run win. McGrath was pictured both with and without a mask as she celebrated with her teammates. 

“We didn’t want to get in trouble, we felt bad for Tahlia at the end there,” Schutt said after the match. 

“Obviously when you’re part of a game that’s so thrilling like that, that’s all you want to do [is celebrate] and at the end screw it, if we get Covid, so be it.”

Australia's Talia McGrath at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

Australia’s opener Beth Mooney, who scored 61 runs from 41 balls, later defended McGrath’s inclusion.

“It’s a real shame that in elite sport you get publicly shamed for having Covid when over here probably 90 percent of the people in this room have it right now,” she said. 

“No-one’s testing, no-one’s doing anything. It’s just a real shame she couldn’t celebrate with us, but at the same time I think the right decision was made in terms of letting her play. Hopefully people aren’t too upset about it.”

But the decision to field McGrath sparked criticism from a number of Indian journalists, with Bloomberg News reporter Akshat Rathi describing it on Twitter as a “dereliction of duty”.

“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.”

Sportskeeda reporter Naveen Sharma was another who took to Twitter, writing: “Covid positive Tahlia McGrath playing for Australia in CWG 2022 final against India. 

“Australians always preach about right or wrong but they forget everything when it comes to them.”

Australia, the dominant force in women’s cricket, are now the T20 world champions, 50-over world champions and Commonwealth Games champions. 

Hosts England were left disappointed after losing the bronze-medal match to New Zealand.

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