Banned Heath Streak Breaks Silence, Issues Apology Over Corruption Mess

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By Sports Reporter

FORMER Zimbabwe national cricket team captain Heath Streak has finally broken his silence and issued a public apology after recently receiving an eight-year ban from the International Cricket Council (ICC) for breaching the anti-corruption code.

In a Thursday statement he released a fortnight after the ICC announced his lengthy ban, the 47-year-old former Zimbabwe coach said he has taken “full responsibility” for his actions but insists he was not involved in any attempts to fix matches.

Streak was banned earlier earlier this month after admitting to committing five breaches of the ICC’s anti-corruption code.

The charges included revealing privileged information which could be used for betting purposes and failing to disclose a payment in bitcoin from a potential corrupter to ICC anti-corruption officials.

The matches which were under investigation included several international matches in 2018, as well as matches in Twenty20 leagues in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Streak maintains he did not influence any matches directly.

“I apologise to my family, friends…my fellow Zimbabweans who have…shown me love and support during the numerous trials and tribulations we have faced,” Streak said in a statement.

He admitted to receiving bitcoin and other gifts from an individual who approached him in 2017 under the pretext of setting up a Twenty20 competition in Zimbabwe.

“In 2017, I met an individual keen to invest in cricket in Africa and in particular they wanted to sponsor a T20 Tournament in Zimbabwe, which would be called the Safari Blast. The individual was subsequently vetted and cleared through the usual protocols and to be honest I let my guard down as the friendship and potential business partnership blossomed. The nature of our relationship was fraternal and cordial at all times. I genuinely believed it was a safe space. I also hoped the relationship would be beneficial not only to myself and to the Academy but to Zimbabwean cricket and I pursued its growth with vigour.

“At the onset I was engaged, and paid Bitcoin, to assist in buying and building teams … Much later on the only other thing I received was a bottle of whisky and my wife was gifted a phone,” he said.

“Several months down the line, the ICC brought to my attention the fact that the individual with whom I had been dealing, and some of the information that I had shared … may have been used for online betting.”

Streak said he was never involved in fixing and hoped his story would serve as a lesson for other current and former international cricketers.

“I want to place on record that I was not involved in any match-fixing, spot-fixing or attempts to influence a game or share information from a change room during a match,” he said.

“I hope acknowledgement of my wrongdoing, wittingly or unwittingly, will set an example to current and future stakeholders.”

“I also hope that cricket in Zimbabwe should not be punished or suffer for my actions directly or indirectly. I commit to serving out my sanction as guided by the ICC and am committed to help them and cricket in Zimbabwe in whatever manner I can. I look forward to continuing to contribute to the development of cricket in Zimbabwe, making amends and returning to the game as and when the ICC sees it fit,” he wrote.

As part of his rehabilitation process after his ban, Streak is expected to continue working with the ICC on their anti-corruption education programmes.

He could however also face prosecution in the Zimbabwe courts after the Sports and Recreation Commission has requested the country’s national prosecuting authority to “ascertain whether any of the criminal laws in Zimbabwe, particularly those relating to corruption, have been breached.