Saturday 9 September 2023


BULAWAYO was awash in a sea of red as cricket fans, both veterans and newcomers, gathered at Mystique Gardens yesterday afternoon to honour the memory of the sport’s icon, Heath Streak.

The Old Chevrons proudly donned their vintage cricket shirts, while the younger generation sported the new iconic red jerseys, all coming together to celebrate the remarkable life of one of Zimbabwe’s greatest cricketers. Streak, who tragically lost his battle with cancer at the age of 49 on Sunday morning, leaves a void not only in Zimbabwe but in the entire cricketing world, while ascending to cricketing heavens.

Close friend, Sunu Gonera, said Streak had found his way to a better place.

“This curtain call, is not the final fall, it’s a call to a higher place, to a wider space to a place called home which is paradise, home with the King. This isn’t all, I will see you again, we have been friends since we were 10/11 years old, we lived a good life together,” said Gonera

It was not just Gonera who paid his final respects to the gentle giant, the Matabele Bull but many others, from his playing days, to his coaching days and the future stars. Present at the service was also another long-time friend and former Zimbabwe international, John Rennie, who delivered a heart-touching message.

From the time the two met up until he bowled his last, Streak was not just a cricket giant but a man of the people, a man who touched so many lives on and off the field of play and his legacy will live on.

Rennie also told people that at the time Streak was diagnosed with cancer, he waited a bit to notify his family as his son, Harry had a major rugby match coming up in England where he is studying and his daughter, Holly had university exams so for the love he had for them, he couldn’t tell them immediately.

The memorial service was also attended by former Sports Minister, Kirsty Coventry, Lady Chevrons star, Sharne Mayers, Brendan Taylor, Ray Price, Craig Ervine, Alistair Campbell, Hamilton Masakadza, Nick Singo and Chris Mpofu.

For Taylor, he is grateful for all the memories they created, playing together and also the time Streak was Zimbabwe’s head coach.

“I looked up to him, he had a huge presence on the field. I was very fortunate to play with him, play against him and learn so much from him. It’s testament to what an amazing man he was here today, so many people have come out to love and support and share condolences and to celebrate his life. I will cherish my memories with him forever and I will always be grateful and indebted to him and thoughts to his family and loved ones at this moment but we are here to celebrate him and we will forever cherish our memories forever,” said Taylor.

Streak, throughout his cricketing journey lost some battles with the Zimbabwe national team but his last has been the most felt by all those who knew and loved him.

“The Matabele Bull”, as Streak, the late Chevrons captain and head coach was affectionately known, was the epitome of captaincy who rode the journey with Zimbabwe Cricket in its best and worst days. He proudly and passionately steered the Chevrons’ ship to success and when it sank, he was there as well, he never turned his back.

For that, and for those years of loyal service to Zimbabwe Cricket, for those 254 proud appearances for Zimbabwe in One Day Internationals (ODIs) and Tests, for those 455 international wickets and for those 4 933 international runs, thank you skip and fare thee well, you played your part and touched so many souls and for that, your legacy will live forever.

Growing up on a family farm at Enthokozweni in Inyathi, Matabeleland North, Streak was a man of the people who touched so many lives and the number of tributes that poured in were testament to that. His community in Inyathi cried a huge loss for a man whose door was always open.

Despite travelling all over the world through cricket, Streak never forgot his roots, where it all started at his family farm. He was proud of who he was and never forgot his background and was one of the few people who managed to don Zimbabwean colours in more than just one discipline.

At the time of his death, he got his Zimbabwe Fishing colours as well as his green blazer for Zimbabwe in fishing. He was very proud to be one of the few who got rugby colours, cricket colours and fishing colours for Zimbabwe.

“He was a very proud Zimbabwean, a very proud Matabele and a very proud member of our community and district and we all mourn his loss.  It’s sad but he is in a better place now, he was in pain suffering from cancer,” said his teary father, Denis.

In the 50-over format, Streak had 189 caps for Zimbabwe while making 65 appearances in Tests (second most capped player in the format). He made his debut as a 19-year-old just after completing his high school at Falcon College, his playing career spanned 12 years, from 1993-2005. He is Zimbabwe’s leading bowler, with 216 Test wickets and 239 ODI wickets and also the only Zimbabwean bowler to take more than 100 Test wickets and over 200 ODI wickets.

He was a hero of Zimbabwe’s first-ever Test match victory, over Pakistan at Harare Sports Club in the 1994/95 season, taking nine wickets in the match.

Streak is also the country’s seventh-highest Test run-scorer, with 1 990 runs, and one of the 16 Zimbabwe batters to score more than 2 000 ODI runs, finishing with 2 943 runs.

He finished with one Test ton and 11 half centuries. His highest score in the format is 127 runs not out while in ODIs, his highest is an unbeaten 79 runs. He was first appointed Chevrons skipper in 2000 before he resigned and was re-appointed to the role in 2002.

In April 2004 he quit after the Zimbabwe board refused to give him guarantees over selection.

After a bitter stand-off with the board, Streak finally returned to the fold in March 2005 and was immediately restored to a struggling side. He was appointed captain of Warwickshire for the 2006 season after signing a two-year contract, but quit the captaincy one match into the 2007 season.

When he decided to call time on his playing career, Streak went into coaching. However, his coaching career had always been about playing a supporting role.

He was once the Chevrons’ bowling coach, but it was his stint as bowling coach of Bangladesh that brought him great success. Bangladesh scored some great victories over the likes of South Africa in the one-day game and also whitewashed Zimbabwe in the Test and one-day series during Streak’s time with the Asian side. He also had coaching stints in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Kolkata Knight Riders.

Zimbabwe lost a humble legend, a true gentleman and your contributions to the sport of cricket, both as a player and a coach, are immeasurable. You wrote your name is stone in cricket’s folklore.

You left an indelible mark on the sport and your community at large, you led the country with pride and honour, and you were and are a hero to thousands of Zimbabweans. Your legacy is sealed and we will forever be grateful for your immense contribution.

Today we stand united bidding you farewell; we will find solace in the memories of your exceptional cricketing career and draw inspiration from the countless lives you have touched through the sport.

We wish strength to your family, friends and all those you touched throughout your brilliant innings, your legacy is sealed and will never be forgotten. Chronicle


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