Legendary Zimbabwe cricketer Heath Streak has passed away at the age of 49 after a prolonged battle with cancer. He had been undergoing treatment in South Africa after being diagnosed with what friends and close ones described as colon and liver cancer.
Henry Olonga, former Zimbabwe fast bowler and Streak’s long-time teammate, and current Zimbabwe captain, Sean Williams, expressed their grief and passed on condolences on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter). However, Streak’s family has not yet issued an official statement.
Heath Streak’s cricket career spanned across 65 Tests and 189 ODIs. He remains Zimbabwe’s all-time highest wicket-taker in both Tests and ODIs, with 216 wickets in Tests and 239 in ODIs The first cricketer from Zimbabwe to record 100 wickets in both Tests and ODIs is Streak. He is also the only Zimbabwe cricketer to complete the double of 100 Test wickets and 1000 Test runs and the only one from the country to score 2000 runs and claim 200 wickets in ODIs.
Streak was not just a talented bowler but also a capable lower-order batsman. His 1990 Test runs with a best of 127* and 2943 runs in ODIs at an average of 28.29 reflect his skills.
In 2000, Streak was appointed captain of the Zimbabwean cricket team. Under his leadership, Zimbabwe registered their first-ever overseas Test series win against New Zealand in 2001. However, his captaincy faced challenges, with tensions between senior players and the cricket board regarding player quotas. Streak resigned from captaincy, only to be reinstated in 2002. He faced another challenge when senior players, including Olonga, protested the Zimbabwe government. Streak again quit captaincy in 2004 due to a fallout with the board.
Heath Streak returned to international cricket in 2005 and played his last Test against India in September of that year before signing for the English county side Warwickshire.
He served as the bowling coach of the Zimbabwe cricket team from 2009 to 2013 and had a second stint as part of the support staff between 2016 and 2018. Streak also worked as the bowling coach of the IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders in 2018.