Heath Streak, a former Zimbabwe cricket captain and the country’s all-time top wicket player, has died aged 49 of liver and colon cancer.

“In the early morning hours of this Sunday, September 3rd, the greatest love of my life and the father of my beautiful children was carried from his home where he had planned to spend his final days surrounded by his family and to the angels and his closest loved ones.” , his wife Nadine Streak wrote on social media.

ESPN reported that he has been receiving biweekly specialist treatment at a hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa since May.

An outstanding fast bowler and skilled batsman, Streak was a key member of Zimbabwe’s teams that competed against the larger cricket nations in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

However, his cricket career ended in disgrace in 2021 when he was banned for eight years for breaching the International Cricket Council (ICC) Anti-Corruption Code.

In May of that year, it was announced that Streak was seriously ill and in August it was reported that he had died after his former teammate Henry Olonga posted a message on social media.

Streak himself was quick to claim that he was still alive, though not before numerous former teammates and opponents paid tribute to him.

Streak falls to line up a ball at Harare Sports Club, 31 August 2005 [Howard Burditt HB/VP via Reuters]

One of Zimbabwe’s largest

Streak was a heavily built, fast bowler who was able to extract movement from unhelpful throws. In 65 Test matches he recorded 236 wickets with an average of 28.14. No other Zimbabwean has won more than 80 Test wickets.

He hit 1,990 runs in tests with an average of 22.35, ranking seventh in the country’s all-time list. His highest scoring and only Century was 127 (not eliminated) against the West Indies in Harare in 2003.

Streak took 237 wickets – 104 more than his closest rival – and hit 2,901 runs in 187 one-day internationals (ODIs).

His best Test bowling performance was typical. He took six for 73 while India totaled 366 en route to a 10-wicket win at Harare in 2005.

Streak twice captained Zimbabwe, interrupted by a dispute with Zimbabwe Cricket in 2001 over pay and race quota issues.

The culmination of his four wins in 21 Tests as captain was Zimbabwe’s first Test win over India in Harare in 2001.

He took seven wickets in the match, sacked Sachin Tendulkar in both innings and scored 40 runs in the first inning.

He led Zimbabwe in 68 ODIs, including the 2003 World Cup in Southern Africa when Zimbabwe reached the Super Six stage.

He was sacked as captain in 2004 at a time of upheaval in Zimbabwean cricket when 15 leading players were rebelling against the government.

This, in turn, caused a severely weakened team to temporarily lose its test match status.

He retired from international cricket in 2005.

Streak plays a sweep as Australia’s wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist looks on during their Tri Nations limited overs match at the Sydney Cricket Ground January 11, 2004 [David Gray/Reuters]

After his last stint as a player with the English county of Warwickshire, he became Zimbabwe’s bowling coach in 2009. His coaching career has spanned stints in Bangladesh, India, England and Scotland.

He was Zimbabwe’s head coach from 2016 to 2018 when he was sacked after the team failed to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

He was banned by the ICC for eight years for leaking player information and contact details to an unnamed Indian and accepting payments of $35,000 in bitcoin.

Streak accepted responsibility for his actions but said he was never involved in match-fixing.

Source : www.aljazeera.com

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