Australia’s women’s cricket team have been criticised for opting to field a player who had just tested positive for Covid in their Commonwealth Games victory over India with people pointing to the hypocrisy in not allowing Novak Djokovic to play Down Under.
Australia, captained by Meg Lanning, defeated India by nine runs in the T20 final at Edgbaston on Sunday. It meant the team clinched the inaugural Commonwealth title, adding to their status as reigning T20 and ODI World Cup champions.
However, it emerged that talented all-rounder Tahlia McGrath returned a positive Covid test only to be cleared to play by both the International Cricket Council and the Commonwealth Games Foundation. England have more relaxed rules so McGrath was allowed to compete, but she would have been banned if the match was played Down Under.
Fans jumped to point out the hypocrisy in the aftermath of the decision to bar Djokovic from entering the country ahead of the Australian Open in January. Djokovic was sensationally deported from Australia following a dramatic saga between the world number one and the country’s national government.
Upon hearing the news, Piers Morgan led the debate by commenting: “Given what happened with Djokovic in Australia, this is a shockingly bad & hypocritical decision.”
Another fan tweeted: “So Australia can deny [Novak] Djokovic from playing in the Australian Open for not being vaccinated but will allow a Covid +ve [sic] person to play a cricket match?”
Another user echoed the same sentiment, adding: “Australia allows a Covid positive player to play Cricket but didn’t let Novak [Djokovic] play because he wasn’t vaccinated. I mean, seriously, what world do we live in?”
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The 26-year-old did not line up alongside her teammates for the Australian national anthem, while she sat in the stands wearing a mask during their batting innings. McGrath batted at number four without a mask, where she scored two runs from four balls.
She bowled two overs and took a catch in the fourth over. Despite warning teammates not to celebrate with her after clinching the wicket, McGrath joined in the celebrations after they clinched the Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Speaking after the victory, bowler Megan Schutt said: “It was so weird. We didn’t want to get in trouble.
“We felt bad for Tahlia at the end there. At the end, screw it. If we get Covid, so be it.”
While standing on the podium to receive her medal, McGrath once more donned a mask amid outrage from fans watching the match and celebrations. No rules were officially broken, but Australia were criticised on social media for letting McGrath play.