HARARE – Close friends of ailing Zimbabwean cricket legend Heath Streak have disclosed how the shock international ban of the legendary former national team captain could have contributed to his deteriorating health.

49-year-old Streak is fighting for his life in a South African hospital, where he is undergoing cancer treatment “under one of the most respected oncologists in South Africa,” according to a family statement.

The former Zimbabwe captain was banned for eight years by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2021 for breaching the governing body’s anti-corruption code related to connections with potential match-fixers.

Charges against Streak included revealing inside information to illegal bookmakers, which could be used for betting purposes, and failing to disclose payment in bitcoin from a potential corrupter.

In accepting wrongdoing and the subsequent ban, Streak declared that he in in fact never fixed any matches, as head coach of Zimbabwe and during his work in franchise competitions abroad.

“Heath is a very proud man, proud of what he has achieved in his cricket career, and proud of what he has done for his country on the cricket field,” a former teammate told SportsCast on Sunday.

“Streakey worked hard for the admirable reputation he has, as a player and coach. Apart from maybe Andy Flower and Heath Streak, there are very few other Zimbabwean players who were aware of their responsibility as national role models. The esteem with which Streakey was held by the Zimbabwean public…it means a hell lot to him. It is something he cannot swap for anything in this world. Some people saying he might have connived to make sure that Zimbabwe deliberately lose games…it just totally destroyed him and he sunk into severe depression.”

A former senior administrator within Zimbabwean cricket added that Streak, the African country’s only world-class bowler for a very long time, has been at pains to salvage what’s left of his integrity.

“He just didn’t take the ban by ICC well,” he said. “Heath is a strong person, and like any other strong people you might know, such people are prepared to face the repercussions of their actions. Heath knows that his naïve links with the bookmakers was a fatal miscalculation. Whilst he was prepared to accept that part of wrongdoing, and take the brickbats for it, he has never got to live with the thought that some people who used to idolise him now think he is a match-fixer. It has taken heavy toll on him and his health.”

The statement from the family on Saturday said the Bulawayo-born ex-international “remains in good spirits and will continue to fight this disease in a similar vein to that which his opponents faced during his revered days on the cricket field.”

It further reads: “The family hopes that you understand and respect their wish for this to remain a private family matter, and thank you for your prayers and good wishes, There will be no further official statement regarding his health at this time. Any news that becomes public should be regarded as rumour.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here