Legendary Zimababwe cricketer Heath Streak passed away in the early hours of Sunday at his Matabeleland-based farm. Streak was the all-time leading wicket-taker for Zimbabwe in Test cricket. The former Zimbabwe skipper has died of colon and liver cancer. He was 49. From legendary cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh to veteran batter Dinesh Karthik, cricketers from past and present have expressed profound grief and sadness over the passing of the former Zimbabwe cricketer.
Taking to Twitter on Sunday, former India all-rounder Yuvraj hailed Streak as one of the nicest guys he met through his cricket journey. “Really sad news of the passing away of Zimbabwe’s legendary cricketer #HeathStreak. Having fought my own battle with cancer, I know the strength it takes. He was one of the nicest guys I encountered along my journey and an even stronger human being. My prayers for the strength of his family and loved ones,” Yuvraj said.
‘The cricketing fraternity will feel his absence’
Batting legend Tendulkar remembered Streak as a ‘big and muscular’ guy who earned plaudits with his deceptive bowling. The Master Blaster asserted that the entire cricket fraternity would feel Streak’s absence. “Deeply pained to learn of Heath Streak’s demise. While he was a big, muscular & strong guy, his agility and deceptive bowling, combined with his fielding prowess, were truly remarkable. The cricketing fraternity will feel his absence. Rest in peace, Heath,” Tendulkar said.
Streak picked up 216 wickets for Zimbabwe in 65 Tests. He made his Test debut against India at Harare Sports Club in 2005. The former Zimbabwe captain was undergoing treatment in Johannesburg. “In the early hours of this morning, Sunday the 3rd of September 2023, the greatest love of my life and the father of my beautiful children, was carried to be with the Angels from his home where he wished to spend his last days surrounded by his family and closest loved ones,” Streaks’ wife, Nadine, penned an emotional note on social media.
Streak was the face of the Zimbabwe side that remained competitive against household names of world cricket in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Streak played 189 matches in the 50-over format for Zimbabwe. Streak scored 2,943 runs and picked up 239 wickets in One Day Internationals (ODIs). Under his leadership, Zimbabwe recorded its first Test win against India in Harare in 2001.
The late cricketer picked up seven wickets in the memorable match. Streak also bagged the jackpot wicket of Tendulkar in both the innings. Streak captained Zimbabwe in 68 ODIs and the ex-skipper was also the leader of the African nation at the 2003 World Cup. Streak’s Zimbabwe side had reached the Super Six stage of the ICC World Cup 2003.
A year after he was sacked from captainship, Streak retired from international cricket in 2005. Streak was named Zimbabwe’s bowling coach after his retirement. He also had coaching stints with Bangladesh and two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) winners Kolkata Knight Riders.