HEATH Streak ... facing criminal charges.
HEATH Streak ... facing criminal charges.

HARARE: Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani says the eight-year ban handed to former national team all-rounder and coach Heath Streak for corruption is the sport’s darkest day in the country.

The 47-year-old Streak admitted five breaches of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) anti-corruption code and agreed to the sanction that was revealed on Wednesday.

“This is a very sad and shameful episode that might well go down in history as the darkest day in Zimbabwean cricket,” Mukuhlani said in a statement. “Streak was a powerful figure adored by many and held up as an idol for future generations of cricketers. But, as we and the rest of the world now know, Streak was also a corrupt, greedy and selfish character, who regrettably abused his status and position in pursuit of dirty benefits.”

Mukuhlani endorsed the punishment and said it would help to reinforce the measures that the ICC and ZC have been taking to root out any wrongdoing in cricket. “We will continue to work actively within our structures and with the ICC to combat criminality in all of its forms and to ensure that cricket remains clean locally and globally.”

Streak, who played 65 Tests and 189 One-day Internationals for Zimbabwe from 1993 to 2005, declined to comment when contacted. The charges against him included revealing inside information which could be used for betting purposes and failing to disclose a payment in bitcoins from a potential corrupter to anti-corruption officials. The games in question include several international matches in 2018, as well as games in Twenty20 leagues in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

He also ‘facilitated or attempted to facilitate’ the introduction of four players including a national captain to a third party for inside information for betting purposes, said the ICC.

Mukuhlani added: “As he represented and captained Zimbabwe before later coaching the national side over the years, Streak was a powerful figure adored by many and held up as an idol for future generations of cricketers.

“He has let cricket down. He has let down the teams and players he coached. He has let the nation down. He has let down the fans — including impressionable children — who loved and idolised him.”

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2021

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