By Kevin Mapasure
Zimbabwe Cricket has hit out at former national team coach Heath Streak for telling ‘lies’ in a bid to clean his image as he serves an eight year ban.
Streak was handed an eight year ban last year after he admitted to five breaches of the International Cricket Council Anti-Corruption code, including accepting a payment in bitcoins from a potential corruptor.
ZC has noted an attempt to portray him as a victim in the whole episode in some quarters, particularly in an article published by Cricinfo recently.
Streak is said to have claimed that he gave up his salary so that players could get paid in the run up to the 2018 World Cup qualifiers that were hosted in Zimbabwe, but ZC have refuted the claim adding that the former captain was actually reluctant to take a pay cut when everyone else was losing part of their monthly earnings.
ZC revealed in their statement that Streak was on a $25 000 a month salary while employed as national team coach.
He was relinquished of his duties in 2018 after he failed to guide Zimbabwe to the 2019 World Cup finals, with Zimbabwe shockingly succumbing to defeat to minnows United Arab Emirates.
A win would have taken Zimbabwe to the finals in England, but ZC questioned a lot of aspects about that game, insinuating that the match could have been fixed at the time.
After the sacking, Streak launched a campaign to get ZC liquidated.
ZC attacked both the author of the article which was published by ESPN Cricinfo headlined The many silences of Heath Streak and Streak himself for deliberately misrepresenting facts.
“The reporter claims: Streak, who was the head coach at the time, and his support staff . . . voluntarily gave up their salaries for more than a year leading in to the qualifiers (world Cup), in an attempt to mitigate against pay cuts for players. These are total lies. Firstly, Streak, who was earning US$25 000 a month, never gave up his salary… secondly, our records indicate Streak was vehemently against salary cuts and only later accepted a 10 percent variation after he realised the rest of the employees on ZC’s payroll, including the players, had taken a 20 to 30percent pay reduction as the organisation sought to survive financial challenges and remain afloat while clearing historical debts,” ZC wrote in a statement.
ZC claims that the article was “replete with further misrepresentations and cherry-picked truths deliberately plucked out of context to portray Streak as a victim of a corrupt cabal.”
The Tavengwa Mukuhlani led body also attacked former sports minister David Coltart who was quoted in the Cricinfo article suggesting that the local game needed Streak.
“No, Coltart. ZC and the game of cricket are better off without Streak and his corrupt ilk. Coltart goes further in his attempt to downplay the breaches committed, saying it was a “lapse of judgment” on Streak’s part. No, Coltart. It was corruption, specifically. In truth, Streak got off incredibly easy.”