HEATH Streak fought his greatest battle with the same courage and spirit which characterised him as a professional cricketer.
In the end, just like in sport, we can’t always win.
The legendary cricketer lost his battle against colon cancer yesterday and died at the relatively young age of 49.
His widow Nadine broke the news yesterday.
“In the early hours of this morning, Sunday 3 September, 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,” Nadine Streak wrote on social media.
Streak had travelled to South Africa several times for treatment.
His death comes a few weeks after it was wrongly reported that Streak had died.
He will be remembered as one of the greatest cricketers, not only in Zimbabwe, but around the world.
He was a fine all-rounder, a brilliant fast bowler and an equally capable batsman.
Streak was a natural leader and it was like he was fated to one day become the coach of the Chevrons, a position he finally occupied after calling time on his career.
Zimbabwe Cricket said they had lost one of the giants of the game.
“It is with deep sorrow that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has learnt of the sad demise of former Zimbabwe captain and coach Heath Streak after losing his battle with colon and liver cancer in the early hours of this Sunday,” ZC said in a statement.
“One of Zimbabwe’s greatest ever cricketers, Streak played 65 Tests and 189 one-day internationals, captaining the national team between 2000 and 2004.
“He scored 4 933 international runs, including a lone century in a Test match against the West Indies in Harare, and took 445 wickets.
“Streak served as Zimbabwe’s head coach from 2016 to 2018, having previously worked as the team’s bowling coach.”
It’s a death which is being felt throughout the cricket world.
“He was a fierce competitor and led Zimbabwe admirably. May God give strength to the bereaved family,” Indian cricket great, VVS Laxman, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
He is the only Zimbabwean to take more than 80 Test wickets.
Streak took 237 wickets – 104 more than his nearest rival – and scored 2 901 runs in 187 one-day internationals.
He took six for 73 while India piled up a total of 366 on the way to a 10-wicket win in Harare in 2005.
He was the hero of Zimbabwe’s first-ever Test match victory, over Pakistan at Harare Sports Club in 1994/95, taking nine wickets in the match.
He was banned by the ICC for eight years for passing on information and contact details of players to an unnamed Indian bookie and accepting US$35 000 in Bitcoin.
Like a true leader, he accepted responsibility but right now, it’s the good things he did for his country, and his game, which the world will be talking about.