Zim Cricket appoints Streak

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) yesterday unveiled former Test captain Heath Streak to take charge of the national team to replace Dav Whatmore, who was sacked in June.

Streak returns to the team’s coaching set-up after emerging as the top candidate ahead of another Zimbabwe international Andy Blignaut and South African duo of Peter Kirsten and Justin Summons, who were all interviewed last week.

Makhaya Ntini, who was interim coach during the home series against India and New Zealand, reverts back to his position as bowling and assistant coach.

Streak penned a two-year contract with his immediate task being a mammoth assignment of ensuring Zimbabwe qualifies for the 2019 World Cup.

He has also been allowed to continue with his role as the bowling coach of the Indian Premier League side Gujarat Lions.

“It’s a big opportunity for me. Having captained this country to be offered the job of head coach is a great honour, though it comes with responsibility not just to the players but also to the supporters and fans of Zimbabwe cricket,” Streak said yesterday at his unveiling ceremony in Bulawayo.

“My promise is that I will leave no stone unturned in terms of our endeavour to improve the team’s performances. I believe we have the resources here in Zimbabwe to do just that.”

“I’m really excited with the current performance against Pakistan (A), I have seen some really good performance. Of course things don’t happen overnight it’s a process but I know that process can happen quickly.”

Streak also said he was happy to work with Ntini despite both of them being specialists bowling coaches.

“I think it’s very clear Makhaya will continue to be the bowling coach and Lance Klusener as the batting consultant, for me it’s working because putting two heads together will help,” he said.

“He will be in overall charge of the bowling team but with my experience obviously that’s where I can land my assistance most and that’s important because my relationship with him is good. But I am an all-rounder. I don’t see it as an issue but an asset.”

ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani said the appointment of Streak was part of the association’s restructuring exercise meant to improve competitiveness of the team.

“It’s an important day in cricket and specifically in Bulawayo where we come not only to unveil a coach but honour a son, a citizen, a professional cricketer and one of our own, Heath Streak as our new head coach for the Zimbabwe national cricket team,” Mukuhlani said.

Streak, who runs a success cricket academy in the city, has previous experience as a head coach of franchise side Matabeleland Tuskers in the 2012-13 season when he led them to Logan Cup glory.

He also was the bowling coach for the national team for four years under Englishman Alan Butcher between 2009 and 2013.

He was instrumental in readying Zimbabwe for Test comeback in 2011 and nurtured some of the best bowling talent including Brian Vitori, Kyle Jarvis and Chris Mpofu.

Streak has less than three weeks to get ready for his first assignment; a two-Test series against Sri Lanka followed by an ODI tri-series which includes West Indies.

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