Legendary former Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak passes away at 49
Legendary former Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak passed away at the age of 49 on Wednesday, August 23 as it brought an end to an era in the country’s cricketing tale. Part of Zimbabwe’s golden generation, Streak played over 250 international matches for the national side before hanging his boots. His news of death was confirmed by close friend and former fast bowler Henry Olanga who took to X (formerly Twitter) to express grief over the passing of the legendary bowling all-rounder.
"Sad news coming through that Heath Streak has crossed to the other side. RIP @ZimCricketv legend. The greatest all-rounder we produced. It was a pleasure playing with you. See you on the other side when my bowling spell comes to an end," Olonga posted on X.
The legendary cricketer had been suffering from cancer and last played for the national team in 2005, before calling time on his illustrious career. He took more than 400 wickets with the international side while scoring more than 4000 runs in a career spanning 12 years.
He captained Zimbabwe in 2000, at a time when a number of players withdrew from the national side as relations between the board and the team hit a rough patch.
In his decorated Test career Streak played 65 matches and picked up 216 wickets with an economy of 2.69.
In the ODI format, Streak featured in 189 matches, scalping 239 wickets at an economy of 4.51. His best bowling figures were 5-32.
With the bat, Streak amassed 1,990 runs in the red-ball format, at an average of 22.4. He featured in 65 Tests for his country.
In ODIs, Streak aggregated 2,934 runs at a strike rate of 73.4 and an average of 28.3.
In 1993, Streak marked his arrival in the world of cricket with a stellar performance against Pakistan.
He established himself as a player to watch out for, picking up 8 wickets in only his second Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi.
Seven years later, Streak was appointed as the Zimbabwe captain but he ended up resigning as the responsibilities and tension with the board over the pay started to affect his form.
Though he was reappointed skipper in 2002, there was increasing pressure on him to take a political stand at the height of a civilian uprising against the then regime under long-time President Robert Mugabe.
Streak was criticised for not taking a political stand and decided to step down as captain in 2004.
After hanging up his boots in 2005, Streak returned to cricket as the captain of Warwickshire for the 2006 season after signing a two-year contract. But he ended up stepping down as skipper of the county side after just one game in the 2007 season.
In 2007, he signed up for the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL), marking the end of his journey in international cricket.
Streak, however, remained connected to cricket, taking up coaching roles with Zimbabwe, Scotland, and Bangladesh, as well as the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises Gujarat Lions and Kolkata Knight Riders.
His legacy, however, was called into question in 2021 after he was handed an eight-year ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for breaching Anti-Corruption Code.
Streak maintained that he was not involved in "any match-fixing, spot-fixing, or attempts to influence a game or share information from a changeroom during a match at any given time".