Twist in the tale: Zimbabwean cricket legend Heath Streak ‘very much alive’, debunks death reports

In a major fortunate twist in the tale, the reports of Heath Streak passing away were said to be false and the Zimbabwean cricket icon is ‘very much alive’.

“I can confirm that rumours of the demise of Heath Streak have been greatly exaggerated. I just heard from him. The third umpire has called him back. He is very much alive folks,” Olonga wrote on Twitter.

Streak, 49, himself shared a message and clarified that he is “alive and well”. Streak asked Olonga to remove the earlier update.

It was in fact Olonga who had earlier shared the news of Streak’s demise on Twitter. In a post, which Olonga has now taken down, he said “Sad news has emerged of Heath Streak’s passing. Rest in peace, legendary figure of @ZimCricketv. He stood as the finest all-rounder our nation produced. Playing alongside you was an honor. Farewell until we meet again on the other side, when my time to bowl concludes…😔.”

A screen grab of Olonga’s Twitter post, which he has now deleted

Olonga had also posted a throwback photograph from the 1999 Cricket World Cup featuring him and Streak.

Reports indicate that Streak was receiving medical care in South Africa following a diagnosis described by friends and loved ones as cancer affecting his colon and liver.

Following Olonga’s previous Twitter post claiming that Streak is dead, condolences poured in from cricketers, including Zimbabwean cricketer Sean Williams, India’s Virender Sehwag and Ravinchandran Aswhin.

“No words can explain what you and your family have done for mine and many others,” Zimbabwean cricketer Sean Williams wrote on Twitter. “Our hearts our broken you leave behind a beautiful family and a legacy for us to live up to! You will be missed we love you dearly Rest in peace streaky,” he wrote.

However, all these posts have now been deleted.

Earlier, Streak’s family had confirmed that he was battling cancer and undergoing treatment.

“In the face of cancer, Heath pursued treatment under the care of a respected oncologist in South Africa,” his family conveyed in a statement previously.

“His spirit remains strong, as he confronts this ailment much like the opponents he encountered during his illustrious days on the cricket field.”

Streak is a highly decorated cricketer of his time, playing 65 test matches for the national team. Heath Streak was also seen as a key stakeholder to put Zimbabwe cricket on the world map. He scored 1,990 runs at an average of 22.35 and took an impressive 216 wickets with an economical rate of 2.69. He also played in 189 one-day internationals, scoring a total of 2,943 runs in 159 innings and claiming 239 wickets.

Streak debuted in test cricket in 1993 against Pakistan in Karachi, and his last appearance in the longer format for the national team was in 2005 against India.

In 2000, Streak assumed the role of Zimbabwe’s captain. However, he had quit after conflicts with the board over compensation and quotas. He was reinstated as captain in 2002 but faced renewed scrutiny as Zimbabwean cricket struggled amid the country’s internal turbulence. In April 2004, he stepped down after the cricket board failed to provide selection assurances.

Following a tense standoff with the board, Streak made his return in March 2005 and promptly contributed to a struggling team.

His association with the Indian Cricket League in 2008 signaled the end of his international career. In 2009, he took the position of Zimbabwe’s bowling coach.

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