COVID-positive Australian cricketer plays CWG22 final against India; netizens point out hypocrisy

"Now imagine that this was an Indian athlete...”: Despite testing positive for COVID19, Australian cricketer Tahlia McGrath came into bat at No. 4 without a mask on and was later seen celebrating the win with teammates.

Australia’s all-rounder Tahlia McGrath played the final against India in the Commonwealth Games 2022 despite testing positive for Covid-19 at the Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham on Sunday.

Tahlia did not line up during the national anthem and could be seen sitting alone in the stands wearing a face mask. However, despite testing positive for COVID19, Tahlia came into bat at No. 4 without a mask on.

Well-known writer and economist Sanjeev Sanyal called out the hypocrisy of Australian cricket team in a tweet: “Now imagine that this was an Indian athlete…”

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Karishma Singh, an Indian sports journalist, also pointed out how tennis legend Novak Djokovic was deported and not allowed to play in the Australian Open for being unvaccinated. She tweeted: “When it came to one of their own – it was okay to let her play with covid?”

In a statement, Commonwealth Games Australia said that they had consulted with tournament experts and match officials before permitting Tahlia to take part in the match against India. The statement adds:

“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. 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.”

This is the first known instance in international cricket when a COVID-19 positive player has taken part in a match.

Australian Women’s Cricket Team at CWG22 (Image source: Australian Women’s Cricket Team – Twitter)

Abhishek Mukherjee, the Head of Content Wisden India, was quick to point out in a tweet that other teams may follow suit and make COVID-19 positive players go out and play in the field.

As per rules, the participation of COVID-positive players across all sports at the CWG22 would be assessed on a case-by-case basis and multiple factors.

Tahlia took a catch dismissing India opener Shafali Verma, but couldn’t celebrate with her teammates.

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Tahlia scored two runs off four balls before being dismissed to a Radha Yadav diving screamer at backward point.

Australia won the match while the Indian women’s cricket team was able to create history with their maiden silver medal.

Chasing the target of 162 for the gold medal, the Indian team was bowled out for 152.

After initially following social distancing, during the victory celebration, Tahlia was welcomed with open arms and warm hugs by her teammates. 

Brief score: Australia 161/8 (Beth Mooney 61, Meg Lanning 36; Renuka Singh 2-25) vs India 152 (Harmanpreet Kaur 65, Jemimah Rodrigues 33; Ashleigh Gardner 3-16).