Legendary Cricketer Dies
4 September 2023
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FORMER Zimbabwe Cricket captain and coach, Heath Streak, who succumbed to cancer this Sunday morning was not only a Zimbabwean legend but also a player whose impact was felt globally.

Streak passed on at his farm outside Bulawayo aged 49 after losing a long battle with cancer.

Born on the 16th of March 1974 in Bulawayo, Heath Hilton Streak was a lion-hearted fast bowler with immense stamina and strength, who had the ability to bowl outswing at a good pace and with excellent control.

Heath had the ability to venture on one-man attacks and destroy teams as witnessed at Lords in 2000 against England, against South Africa at the 1999 World Cup among other devastating spells that he bowled.

In his decorated career, Streaky as he was affectionately known on the cricket field, played 65 test matches, picking up 216 wickets.

In the One Day International format, Streak featured in 189 matches, scalping 239 wickets with his best bowling figures being 5 for 32.

With the bat, Streak amassed 1,990 runs in the red-ball format, while in ODIs, he aggregated 2,934 runs.

While Zimbabwe cricket has boasted a fair number of all-rounders over the years, it is Streak who generally stands out among them.

He remains Zimbabwe’s all-time leading wicket-taker in both Test and One Day International cricket, both at an average under 30 and he is also the only Zimbabwean to have completed the double of 1000 Test runs and 100 Test wickets, and 2000 ODI runs and 200 ODI wickets.

Streak marked his arrival in the world of cricket with a stellar performance against Pakistan in 1993 capturing the headlines after picking up eight wickets in only his second Test in Rawalpindi.

Streak played a key role in leading Zimbabwe to their first away series win in 2001, blasting 79 runs off 67 balls in the decisive match at Eden Park to beat New Zealand 2-1.

He also played for various English County sides, as well as playing Franchise cricket across the world.

After playing his final international in 2005, Streak transitioned into coaching where he had two stints as Zimbabwe’s national head coach from 2009 to 2013 before coming back in 2016 and leading the Chevrons till 2018.

Outside of the Chevrons, Streak also worked as a bowling coach with the Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders in 2018, Bangladesh bowling coach as well as stints in the English county championship.

A native Ndebele speaker, Streak also showed his full talents outside of the cricket pitch when he appeared on TV commercials in the mid-1990s.

In 2014, Streak founded the Heath Streak Academy to aid the development and growth of cricket in Zimbabwe.

In 2021, he was banned for eight years after being charged with – and admitting to – five breaches of the ICC’s anti-corruption code.

However, he later said he was not involved in any attempts to fix matches, but he admitted to disclosing inside information pertaining to international games.

A fighting innings has come to an end, the umpire has raised the finger on Streaky, Zimbabwe’s best all-rounder.

May his soul rest in peace as he walks off the park.