A big task awaits Streak

HARARE - The appointment of former Zimbabwean captain and icon of the game Heath Streak was one of the better bits of news to come out of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) who once again sadly find themselves in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

It’s a good job that Streak has broad shoulders, because even his Hercules like strength will be put to the test when he takes up his new role as head coach.

However, challenges and Streak walk hand in hand, and have done so throughout his cricketing career.

At the tender age of 19, Streak was handed the new ball and asked to open the bowling against a very strong Pakistan team in 1993 when David Brain was ruled out of the first Test with injury.

Instead of taking a step back and handing responsibilities to the more senior pace bowler Eddo Brandes, Streaky, as he is affectionately known relished the challenge and took eight wickets in the second Test which included his first five wicket haul.

So although the challenge that awaits Streak is a big one, you can rest assured that the former captain is very much up to the task.

After all, Streak has credentials both as a player and coach to put his beloved Zimbabwe back on the map again.

The bulk of the squad would have been under Streak’s tutelage when he worked with the national team as bowling coach, as well as his very successful stint as head coach of Matabeleland Tuskers.

Then there is the (small) matter of coaching the bowling teams of Bangladesh and the Gujarat Lions in last year’s Indian Premier League (IPL).

So all the boxes are ticked and now it’s up to the players to respond to what Streak has to say.

His first port of call is the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka, immediately followed by what should be a good triangular series which also includes the West Indies.

At yesterday’s unveiling, Streak made a promise to the fans and supporters, saying that he not only wanted the team to improve all round, but that he also wanted the team to not only compete, but to win.

Unfortunately, this may prove to be a tall order, given the lack of international cricket Zimbabwe have been playing of late.

However, Streak’s comments are refreshing to hear, as most of the previous coaches would play the safe card and talk about the team going through yet another rebuilding phase, and that we should be patient and not expect results overnight.

Streak could easily have said similar words, and he would have got away with it, but, his will for genuine and consistent improvement is clear to see, and because he has a long standing relationship with many of the players, his desire may just rub off on some of the players who have become passengers.

It will also be good to see Streak working with his former teammate Tatenda Taibu, who was recently appointed as convener of selectors.

Maybe, just maybe...The appointment of these two former legends may put Zimbabwe cricket back on track again, provided the board gives them unlimited carte blanche to act for the best of the sport in general, and not interfere as has been the case in years gone by.

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