Sun, 16 May 2021

Heath Streak handed eight-year ban for corruption

ESPNCricInfo
14 Apr 2021, 22:43 GMT+10

Former Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak has been banned for eight years after being charged with - and admitting to - five breaches of the ICC's anti-corruption code, including accepting a payment in bitcoins from a potential corruptor.

Streak, Zimbabwe's greatest fast bowler, had been under investigation for an extensive list of games through 2017 and 2018, during his post-playing career as a coach, from his time in international cricket - with Zimbabwe from 2016 to 2018 - as well as stints in T20 leagues including the IPL, the BPL and the Afghanistan Premier League (APL).

The charges paint a picture of Streak as a facilitator of approaches by a corruptor to people within teams he was a part of. But they also include one charge of disclosing inside information pertaining to matches during a 2018 tri-series involving Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, a Zimbabwe-Afghanistan series in 2018, the 2018 IPL and the 2018 APL.

Streak was also charged with facilitating or attempting to introduce four players - including a national captain - to a potential corruptor. The three other charges revolve around his failure to disclose receiving gifts or payment in lieu of this facilitation, the failure to disclose potentially corrupt approaches in the 2017 BPL, and, in 2018, the PSL, IPL and the APL. Those gifts include accepting two bitcoins - converted eventually into US$ 35,000 - from the potential corruptor identified in the ICC's investigation as Mr X. At the APL, Streak was also gifted a new iPhone for this wife, both of which he failed to disclose to ICC anti-corruption investigators.

Although he is believed to initially have contested the allegations, Streak eventually admitted to the charges and agreed to the sanctions. He is now banned from all cricket activities and would be free to resume his involvement again on March 28, 2029.

"Heath Streak is an experienced former international cricketer and national team coach, who had participated in numerous anti-corruption education sessions and was fully aware of his responsibilities under the Code," the ICC's anti-corruption head Alex Marshall said in a statement. "As a former captain and coach, he held a position of trust and owed a duty to uphold the integrity of the game. He breached the Code on several occasions, including facilitating the approach of four other players. At times, he also sought to obstruct and delay our investigation.

"The offences did not affect the outcomes of any relevant matches and Mr Streak has agreed to assist the ICC anti-corruption education programme for which we are grateful. He has also expressed his remorse and contrition and entered this agreed sanction decision to avoid the need for a full disciplinary process. The sanction reflects this cooperation."

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, members of the Zimbabwe cricket-playing community expressed their shock and sadness at the update, with reactions ranging from "I'm blown away" and "I am genuinely shocked", to "It's a kick in the teeth for Zimbabwe cricket and the current crop of players - not only that, but now to regain trust is lengthy process."

David Coltart, the former Zimbabwe sports minister, also expressed his anguish on Twitter, saying "there can be no excuses for this type of behaviour".

The sanctions will come as a shock to many given his status as one of the greatest players Zimbabwe has produced. He was a major figure in the national sides of the mid-to-late 90s, a period in which they enjoyed their greatest successes. He remains the only Zimbabwean bowler with more than 100 Test wickets (he has 216) and the only Zimbabwean with over 200 ODI wickets (237). Streak captained Zimbabwe as well in the 2000s, during a difficult periods when a number of players withdrew from the national side and as relations between the board and team hit rock bottom.

He has since remained in cricket as a coach, with stints as bowling coach of Bangladesh and multiple stints with Zimbabwe. He was also bowling coach for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.

The charges

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