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Streak’s footprints remain visible

Story by Mthokozisi Dube

ONE of Zimbabwe’s finest cricketers of all time Heath Streak who died on Sunday has left a rich legacy on and off the field.

An all-rounder whose exploits were unmatched, Heath Streak may be gone, but he leaves a long-lasting legacy among cricket followers who had the opportunity to rub shoulders with the former Zimbabwe cricket captain and coach.

Veteran cricket commentator Dean Duplessis reckons the records that Streak set at the pinnacle of his playing career left him in a class of his own.

“There is absolutely no doubt that Heath was Zimbabwe’s finest all-rounder that the country produced. A lot of the older generation will probably try and tell you that players such as Fletcher, and Cavin all represented Zimbabwe, but none of them played test match cricket and at the end of the day, you will want to compare cricketers who have played test match cricket. It’s fair to say that Heath was consistent.

“I think some of his outstanding performances were obviously the nine wickets he took against Pakistan at Harare Sports Club back in February 1995 when he took six for ninety in 39n overs. He was such a humorous individual with his practical jokes. He was a true legend on and off the field and may his soul rest in peace,” said Duplessis.

Streak was among the cricket players who helped inspire many to have an interest in the game.

“Heath was very passionate about Bulawayo or Matebeleland as we grew up knowing the place. He had a passion for Ubuntu. So, he will leave a legacy and people will remember him as a national treasure in cricket,” said cricket administrator, Gray Nyumbo.

Cricket correspondent, Mehluli Sibanda added, “Well, Heath Streak where do I even begin? This is a man I have known since 2001 when I started my cricket journalism in Zimbabwe and beyond the borders. It’s really sad that he is gone at the age of 49. I thought one day he would come back and contribute to the game he so loved. For me, he was one of the people who welcomed me with both hands when I started my career.

“From there, our friendship grew as I looked up to him. His records in most wickets in Odi for Zimbabwe and I believe if T20s were introduced during his playing days, he could have been the leading contributor. He inspired a lot of us. Heath and Mpumelelo inspired us growing up in townships to take up cricket.”

As part of efforts to nurture talent, Streak established the Heath Streak Cricket Academy tasked with identifying and nurturing cricket talent in Bulawayo.

Arguably one of the country’s finest cricketers, Streak died on Sunday at the age of 49 and a memorial service in honour of the cricket legend will be held in Bulawayo this Friday.

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