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Heath Streak: The all-rounder who put Zimbabwe cricket on the map

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

Heath Streak: The all-rounder who put Zimbabwe cricket on the map passes away. Top 5 achievements from Heath Streak's international career.

Heath Streak: The all-rounder who put Zimbabwe cricket on the map passes away | Walking wicket (Images_ ©memorable_90s_Twitter)
Heath Streak captained Zimbabwe Cricket (Images: ©memorable_90s/Twitter)

Heath Streak, the former Zimbabwe skipper, has lost the battle to cancer and breathed his last in the early hours of Sunday, September 3 at his farm in Matabeleland. Streak was 49 at the time of his demise.

He was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon and Liver cancer and was extremely ill since the last few months. A couple of weeks back, rumor spread like wildfire regarding the pacer’s demise but it had turned out to be false. However, this time his wife confirmed the news on Facebook.

Heath Streak, was one of the finest cricketers produced by Zimbabwe. Known as a genuine pacer with great off-cutters and impeccable control on the ball, Streak was the first one from his country to capture 100 wickets both in the Test and ODI formats. He was also a capable batsman down the order, scoring over 4,500 runs across formats.

Streak remains the only Zimbabwe cricketer to register a double of 1000 runs & 100 wickets and 2000 runs & 200 wickets in Test and ODI cricket, respectively. He will go down in the annals of Zimbabwe cricket as their greatest all-rounder.

Heath Streak’s career Stats

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To honor his life and career, we will look at some of his major achievements as a Zimbabwe cricketer in his glittering 12-year stint from 1993 to 2005.

Here are top 5 achievements of Heath Streak in his international career

1) Part of a memorable Zimbabwe team

Streak was part of the glorious generation of Zimbabwe cricket (1996 -2002), where the team had some of their best players to have ever played the game. Streak was one of them, and together they were able to stand toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the world and sometimes even got the better off them.

In this period, Zimbabwe scripted many memorable moments for themselves as a cricketing nation and made everybody take note of their talent. Zimbabwe cricket reached greats heights as they won multiple Test and ODI series against some of the teams of that era.

2) Historic Test series win in Pakistan 1998/99

Asia is one of the difficult places to conquer for a visiting team and Pakistan is no different. Pakistan always have the upper hand at home and in 1998 they had arguably their best bowling attack - with the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Aaqib Javed, Saqlain Mushtaq all being part of the line-up, along with batters like Saeed Anwar, Yousuf and Inzamam-ul-Haq.

But Zimbabwe managed to breach the Pakistan frontier by scripting their second win against Pakistan and the first away from home. It was the first match of the series at Peshawar and Zimbabwe won the game by 7 wickets. Heath Streak being the spearhead of the pack attack took 4/93 in the first innings and Mbangwa’s 3fer helped the visitors to restrict Pakistan to 296.

Streak once again shined in the second innings by bowling an economical spell (2/19) and playing a supporting role to Olanga - who took 4/42 to bundle out the home side for 103. Zimbabwe had to chase 162 which they did and took a sensational 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The second match at Lahore was a draw, while the third at Faisalabad ended in a no-contest giving Zimbabwe an epic overseas series win.

It is to be noted that even India won a Test series in Pakistan only in 2004.

3) Zimbabwe’s stunning 3-0 whitewash over England in 1997 ODI series

It is not common for a Zimbabwe side to whitewash an opponent in any format and in this ODI home series against England, they did just that. It still remains their only bilateral series win over England in the format and the only whitewash they ever managed to pull off over a top side.

Streak took 6 wickets in the series at an average of 20.16 and this includes a match-winning spell of 3/30 in the first ODI at Bulawayo - that helped Zimbabwe bundle out the visitors for 152. He then scored a match-winning 43 in a low scoring second match at Harare and played a key role in the series win.

4) Qualifying for the Super 6 in ICC ODI World Cup 1999

Zimbabwe’s rise as a team can be ascertained following their Super 6 entry in the 1999 Cricket World Cup. They beat the likes of India and semi-finalists South Africa during the course of their dream run in the tournament.

Streak played a key role in the tourney - picking up 11 wickets from 8 games including 3 wicket-hauls each in Zimbabwe’s victories against India & South Africa.

5) Most successful Test captain ever for Zimbabwe

Heath Streak was a hot commodity in cricket as he was one of the few pacers who captained their national side. He led Zimbabwe in 68 ODIs and 21 Test between 2000 and 2004 - winning 18 and 4 matches in the respective formats.

This includes an overseas ODI series win in New Zealand in 2001 and a couple more series against the emerging Bangladesh team. He is the joint third most successful ODI skipper for the country and the most successful Test captain. Three of his Test wins as skipper came against Bangladesh and another one was a memorable 4-wicket win over India at Harare.

Heath Streak has left a lasting impression on Zimbabwe cricket, giving the African nation a lot to celebrate on the cricket ground. His impact on international cricket is deep and he will continue to be an icon of the game.

Top Twitter Reactions from Cricket fraternity on Heath Streak's sudden demise

Legendary Sachin Tendulkar left a heartfelt note on Twitter on Heath Streak's death.

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