THE chief executive of the Heath Streak Cricket Institutions Joseph Rego believes former senior national cricket coach Heath Streak is among the best coaches in the game after guiding Kolkata Knight Riders to a win in the multi-billion dollar Indian Premier League play-offs.
Rego said sacking Streak as national team coach was a loss to the nation and this would cause irreparable damage to the game considering his accomplishments in the IPL.
“Firing Streak has not only demoralised the national side, but undermined morale and instilled fear in the minds of our talented crop of youngsters that are our nation’s future stars. There could be a gradual exodus of youngsters seeking opportunities elsewhere fearing for their careers when they realise how badly cricketers are treated in their own country,” said Rego.
He said there was a pool of great talent and there had been resurgence in fan interest during Streak’s stint, as his specialised coaching and selection team helped players to try and reach their maximum potential.
The performance of the national side, he said, steadily grew after Streak’s appointment as head coach, with Zimbabwe doing well in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers.
“I was devastated by the (Zimbabwe) failure to qualify for the World Cup, but in sport, one team wins and the other has to lose,” he said.
Rego said the stints Streak had with Bangladesh and in the IPL had come in handy in improving Zimbabwe’s performances.
His experience as a former Test cricketer had inspired the Zimbabwe team to become consistent performers by successfully fusing upcoming talent with experienced players to draw the best out of those at his disposal.
“The last time Zimbabwe had won a bilateral ODI series away from home against a Full Member was in 2001 in Bangladesh. Earlier that year, they had beaten new Zealand 2-1. Their historic 3-2 win in Sri Lanka is only their third bilateral away series win against a Full Member out of a total of 29 series and full credit should go to Streak for the sensational role he has played as a coach for that series wins,” Rego said.
He said Streak’s feat with the Kolkata Knight Riders followed his 2016 guidance of Gujarat Lions’ defeat of defending IPL champions Mumbai to become the first team to seal a berth in the play-off.
Streak had made a significant contribution in developing a pool of talented bowlers in the world’s most prestigious cricket league that have gone on to perform well for their countries.