Australian officials issued a statement explaining that although McGrath was positive and presented with mild symptoms, he was allowed to play following consultation with the team and match officials along with the Commonwealth Games Federation’s Results Analysis Clinical Expert Group.
“On Sunday, McGrath presented to team management with mild symptoms and later returned with a positive test,” Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) said. “He was named in the starting eleven at the toss and the International Cricket Council (ICC) has cleared his participation in the final.
“In consultation with the CGF (Commonwealth Games Federation) and the ICC, Cricket Australia’s medical staff have implemented a variety of comprehensive protocols throughout the game and for post-match activities to minimize the risk of infection among all players and officials.
“The CGA has maintained a comprehensive COVID-19 risk mitigation strategy for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, including testing protocols over and above those required by the Birmingham 2022 Organizing Committee.”
CGA did not outline what protocols are in place and would not comment further.
“I think it was handled very well from Australia’s point of view,” said Australian batter Beth Mooney, a gold medal hanging around her neck. “Having the protocol in place and making sure everyone on the team was comfortable playing, they did all the right things.
“Obviously it got a bit hairy for a while on the toss side but I think it’s no different if someone is playing and has a cold or flu.
“The right decision was made from my point of view and we just went out and played it.
“It was not something we had control over, the people who were paid to make these decisions made them.”
McGrath did not line up with his teammates during the national anthem. But he went to bat without wearing a mask.
He was Australia’s highest run-scorer coming into the final in Birmingham but against India he faced just four balls before being dismissed for two runs.
When McGrath left the field, he did not return to the dugout. He sat apart from his teammates.
“It was unusual but we have a doctor on the tour and we were listening to what he said,” Australian all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner said. “He said it was safe for him to play, obviously we couldn’t mix with him so we all felt we were safe enough there.
“It was one of those things that was bound to happen to somebody in this competition and unfortunately it was him.”