BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (AP) — Former Zimbabwe cricket captain Heath Streak, the only player from the southern African country to have taken more than 100 test wickets, has died. He was 49.
Streak’s wife Nadine confirmed the death Sunday on social media. He was reportedly suffering from colon and liver cancer, and had been receiving treatment in a South Africa hospital since May.
“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,” Nadine Streak said in a statement.
Zimbabwe’s sports regulatory body, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), and Zimbabwe Cricket’s media department also confirmed the death.
“We can confirm that Mr. Heath Streak passed on this morning,” the SRC said Sunday. “Our deepest condolences to his family, friends and cricket community.”
Henry Olonga, a former teammate who had previously prematurely announced Heath’s death, paid tribute.
“Our deepest condolences to you Nadine Streak and family,” Olonga wrote. “And to all who had the pleasure to be influenced and inspired by Heath.”
Streak played 65 tests and 189 one-day internationals for Zimbabwe. He is the all-time leading wicket taker for Zimbabwe in test cricket with 216 wickets and in ODI cricket with 239 wickets.
He had seven five-wicket hauls in his test career and holds the record in that category for Zimbabwean cricket.
Streak retired from professional cricket in 2005 and in 2009 he was appointed as the bowling coach for Zimbabwe. In 2010, along with his former teammate Grant Flower, Streak became a supporting coach of Zimbabwe under former English cricketer Alan Butcher.
In 2013, his contract was not renewed for financial reasons.
In April 2021, Streak was banned from all cricketing activities for eight years for breaching the ICC’s anti-corruption policies. He was found guilty of assisting a man known as “Mr. X” contact players.
Streak received two bitcoins worth approximately $35,000, and an iPhone as payment from the corrupt person in 2017. He was accused of disclosing inside information — non-public information — about the franchise Twenty20 leagues including the Indian Premier League, Pakistan Super League and Afghanistan Premier League.
He denied the match-fixing claims against him but accepted the ban by the ICC.
“It’s a tragic day for Zimbabwe cricket, and cricket in general,” Heath’s former Zimbabwe pace bowling partner Gary Brent said Sunday. “Streaky was our bowling attack for a very long time, certainly our best ever bowler. We could all call him a friend.”
Zimbabwe test captain Sean Williams said Streak “did more good than bad.”
“He’s left behind a huge gap in a lot of people’s lives,” Williams said, “I’m sure around the world there are a lot of people that are going to be weeping.”