Questions, Concerns and Disappointments with Tahlia McGrath’s selection for Final Gold Medal Match

7th of August, the grand final of women’s cricket at the Commonwealth Games saw two giant teams in Australia and India lock horns and the contest saw Australia win GOLD in a teasing defeat to India in a thriller by 9 runs. Just before the start of the game, there were a few very interesting minutes which even lead to the toss being delayed.

 

Tahlia McGrath wearing a mask in the Finals of Commonwealth Games 2022. PC: Getty Images
Tahlia McGrath wearing a mask in the Finals of Commonwealth Games 2022. PC: Getty Images

 

Yesterday’s final at Edgbaston, England saw Australian all-rounder, Tahlia McGrath feature in the XI despite having tested positive for the virus and was well within the rules in doing so. Tahlia McGrath on the morning of the final day had presented to team officials with mild symptoms and subsequently returned a positive test. A statement from Commonwealth Games Australia read, “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.”

Before the start of the Commonwealth Games, it was said that athletes testing positive for the virus can be allowed to compete and will only require clearance. Cases were assessed individually on various parameters and the officials then declare an athlete’s eligibility for the game. The same was the case with Tahlia McGrath as a last-minute call had to be made on McGrath’s eligibility and for the same reason, the toss was delayed by about 12 minutes while discussions took place.

Tahlia McGrath when received clearance to feature in Australia’s XI, saw her follow a set of safety precautions. She had skipped the anthems before the match and wore a mask while watching on from distance during the team’s batting innings. While fielding, she did bowl and even held a catch that came her way. She kept her distance from any sort of physical touch and continued the same till the very end and very responsibly negotiated through the medal-handing ceremony as well.

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The in-form all-rounder couldn’t make any sort of contributions in the game as a couple of overs she bowled were expensive and with bat on 2(4) was dismissed, wicket courtesy, Radha Yadav who took a brilliant catch diving forward at backward point. She’d taken the all-important catch of Shafali Verma off Ashleigh Gardner’s bowling, but distanced from the team while they celebrated the wicket and it was Jess Jonassen who gave us flashbacks of Covid-times with her bringing back the leg-fi celebration.

Post-game, Megan Schutt said, “We didn’t want to get in trouble, we felt bad for Tahlia at the end there. 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.” As quoted in a write-up for Cricket Australia.

Megan Schutt further said, “The strangest part of it all (was) just not being able to celebrate with her and obviously when you’re part of a game that’s so thrilling like that, that’s all you want to do. (The rules are) out of our control … all we can do is try our best to maintain keeping it out of our squad and hey, we almost got through the whole tournament without it.

“I think Tahlia was just happy to play, in Australia, it probably wouldn’t be the case, so the fact that Tahlia got to go out there and take an absolutely crucial catch and be a part of this really is very special.”

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