India captain Harmanpreet Kaur allowed Covid positive Tahlia McGrath to feature in the Commonwealth Games final gold medal match on Sunday.
Kaur said the Indian team had been informed of McGrath’s positive test prior to the toss but they had no objections to allowing her to play in the match for Australia’s side.
CWG 2022 – FULL COVERAGE | IN-DEPTH | INDIA FOCUS | OFF THE FIELD | IN PHOTOS | MEDAL TALLY
“They informed us before the toss. That was something not in our control because the Commonwealth has to take the decision.We were OK because she (Tahlia McGrath) wasn’t very ill, so we just decided to play,” Kaur said.
India skipper mentioned that it was a matter of sportsmanship to allow her to play otherwise missing the final game would have been hard-hitting for McGrath.
She said, “We had to show the sportsman’s spirit. We’re happy that we didn’t say no to Tahlia because that (missing the final) would have been very hard-hitting for her.”
McGrath tested positive to Covid on the morning of the gold medal match in Birmingham, but was allowed to play the match because she suffered only minor symptoms.
After the talented 26-year-old came out as Covid positive, the whole conjecture surrounded around she should be allowed to field or not. Amidst such discussions, the toss was also delayed by more than 10 minutes.
ALSO READ: CWG 2022: India Lose to Australia in Women’s T20I Cricket Final; Claim Silver
However, McGrath went wicketless and only managed two runs with the bat as in Australia’s thrilling nine-run victory but her inclusion in the game sent messages of encouragement for women cricketers.
Earlier in the year, Australian star player Ashleigh Gardner had tested Covid positive and had to isolate for 10 days and even missed two matches at the start of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand. However, difference between McGrath and Gardner is that isolation rules in the United Kingdom are slightly more relaxed than in other parts of the world.
After allowing McGrath to play the match, Australia team released a statement to explain the decision.
“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,” the statement from Commonwealth Games Australia read.
“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,” it added.
McGrath however played a crucial role in the field as she took a catch to dismiss Shafali Verma early in India’s run chase, but celebrations were quite different as she stayed away from the rest of her team-mates.
However, all precautions went in vain after Australia clinched the gold medal as McGrath was seen celebrating with her teammates while wearing a mask.
Australia opener Beth Mooney was seen happy with the decision to allow her teammate to play but raised questions as to why it has to be told publicly about the test when 90 percent people are testing positive but are roaming freely because they don’t turn up for a test.
She said, “It’s a real shame that in elite sport you get publicly shamed for having Covid when over here probably 90 per cent in this room have it right now. No one is testing, no one is doing anything. It’s a shame she couldn’t really celebrate with us.”
“At the same time, I think the right decision was made in terms of letting her play given we’ve spoken about protocols and making sure we were trying to keep everyone safe throughout the game. Hopefully people aren’t too upset by it,” Monney added.
Get the latest Cricket News, Schedule and Cricket Live Scores here