Some wounds never heal!

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SPORT - Ti­nashe Kusema Brighton Zhawi Brighton Zhawi

LO­CATED in the Turk Mine area, roughly 60km north of Bu­l­awayo, the Streak res­i­dence is sure to be a hive of ac­tiv­ity come Christ­mas morn­ing.

Heath and his wife Na­dine will have their hands full as their old­est daugh­ter, Holly, will be in coun­try ac­com­pa­nied by her fi­ancé, Sam. The two are ex­pected to wed some­time next year. “Not sure if I can call it a quiet Christ­mas this time around, but my daugh­ter Holly is com­ing from the United King­dom with her fu­ture hus­band (Sam) and his fam­ily,” said Heath Streak.

“We are just go­ing to try show them around Zim­babwe and take the op­por­tu­nity to get to know each other.

“Hope­fully, we won’t spend too much time in queues, for fuel and other things,” he said. As the Streak Christ­mas plans be­gin to un­fold, one won­ders about the state of mind of the 44-year-old through all these fes­tiv­i­ties. Af­ter all, it looks like the for­mer Chevrons gaffer is most cer­tain to have a re­mark­able end to an oth­er­wise un­re­mark­able year.

It was around this time that he had the world in the palm of his hand as the Chevrons stood on the cusp of his­tory. They were sched­uled to play a Box­ing Day Test against South Africa.

Mem­o­ries are still fresh on the mind of the le­gendary pace­man. “I re­mem­ber it all quite fondly; we had a prac­tice ses­sion on Christ­mas day, which was fol­lowed by pre­match prepa­ra­tions and staff meet­ings,” said Heath Streak.

“We even had a Christ­mas din­ner with the team later that night.“But it was a bit dull be­cause most of the guys had not been paid yet and they were a bit stressed.

“For­tu­nately, the ex­cite­ment of the Test that lay ahead saw us through,” he said. Un­for­tu­nately, that was to be as high as things got as the Chevrons lost that Test, in­side two days, by an in­nings and 120 runs. The team then failed to qual­ify for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup a few months later. Fail­ures that not only cost the 44-year-old his job, but also saw him go on a 10-month hia­tus from the game.

To this very day, the wounds are yet to heal as Streak is still to find clo­sure on a year that promised so much yet de­liv­ered noth­ing at all.

“It’s quite dif­fi­cult to find clo­sure when you are still to get paid,” said Streak.

“You hear that ZC staff are get­ting paid into for­eign ac­counts, the game is still get­ting ad­min­is­tered poorly, many of the provin­cial as­so­ci­a­tion leagues are yet to start and all these things add on to the stress,” he said. De­spite life deal­ing the 44-year-old a blow for most part of 2018, Streak re­fuses to give up and he has tried to give back as much as he has taken.

The for­mer Zim­bab­wean in­ter­na­tional is presently tak­ing both Zim­babwe Cricket and the Sports and Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion to task, go­ing as far as su­ing the for­mer for his out­stand­ing wages. Streak re­fuses to see the World Cup qual­i­fiers as ut­ter fail­ure. “Con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, I think the qual­i­fiers were an en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence un­til, maybe, the last cou­ple of games.

“We played some good cricket right through­out the tour­na­ment and we had some mem­o­rable games, some tight ones and the sup­port from the fans was truly amaz­ing. “It’s just un­for­tu­nate that cer­tain de­ci­sions went against us in the West Indies game, and we failed to get the de­sired re­sult in the rain-af­fected United Arab Emi­rates game,” he said. le­gendary now, most peo­ple are not aware of the softer side to this gen­tle gi­ant.

“My great­est mo­ti­va­tion is my mother, Felic­ity Machakaire. She works tire­lessly and self­lessly for the fam­ily.

“Sports stars like LeBron James and Cris­tiano SIKANDAR RAZA hasn’t moved on from Zim­babwe’s fail­ure to qual­ify for the ICC Cricket World Cup in Eng­land and Wales next year. Nei­ther has Craig Ervine. Eight months on since March, 22, 2018 — the day Zim­babwe lost to UAE by three runs in an ICC Cricket qual­i­fy­ing match and rel­e­gated the 32-year-old to emo­tional pur­ga­tory — Raza, who was voted player of the qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment, is still hurt­ing.

“I have not (moved on), brother; it’s just that I don’t talk about it as it sounds like a bro­ken record now,” he said.

“How­ever, our game ver­sus UAE must not take away any­thing from all the good work and per­for­mances we had done and achieved prior,” said the all-rounder. Ervine was the man on strike when Zim­babwe needed six runs off the last ball to beat UAE and qual­ify for the World Cup. He has strug­gled to move on too.

“It will be hard for any­body to foregt what hap­pened and it will be part of us for years to come,” said the 33-year-old left handed bat­saman.

“It’s al­ways go­ing to be at the back of your mind when ever cer­tain con­ver­sa­tions come up.

“There is no way of es­cap­ing it...i feel the best way to that is win­ning,” Ervine said. Much like his for­mer gaffer Heath Streak and the rest of his team­mates, Raza’s night­mare be­gan on this very day last year.

Then, the Chevrons were a merry bunch (pun in­tended), ex­cited about Ron­aldo, who are tal­ented but have in­sane work ethics, also in­spire me.

“My girl­friend Naslin Ne­gomo also plays vol­ley­ball for Harare City; both of us be­ing sports­peo­ple, keeps things ex­cit­ing.

“I am her big­gest fan and she is mine; we play­ing a his­toric pink-ball four-day Box­ing Day Test against South Africa in Port El­iz­a­beth.

It’s a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent for Raza this time around as the World Cup heart­break still lingers.

“It would have been a mer­rier Christ­mas (had Zim­babwe qual­i­fied for the World Cup),” said Raza.

Ervine said he is ex­cited to be spend­ing Christ­mas at home.

“The ex­cite­ment of the his­toric pink ball test last year was en­joy­able.

“This Christ­mas at home with fam­ily and friends af­ter a few years will be just as en­joy­able and a lit­tle more re­lax­ing than last year i would say,” he said. Raza be­lieves the year hasn’t been all gloom and doom for the na­tional cricket side.

The Chevrons recorded their first Test away win in 17 years when they beat Bangladesh by 151 runs in the first Test of the two-match se­ries in Novem­ber. “Away win af­ter 17-years is def­i­nitely a rea­son to smile about,” said Raza. In 2018 Zim­babwe played 26 ODIs record­ing five wins that came against Sri Lanka, Afghanistan (2), Hong Kong and Ire­land.

In T20Is the team went win­less in eight matches, but their big­gest suc­cess re­mains the Tests where they drew 1-1 in a two-match se­ries away to Bangladesh in Novem­ber.

“In­con­sis­tency in our re­sults and per­for­mances is be­cause of lack of in­ter­na­tional cricket,” Raza reck­ons.

“With the lit­tle we have and what we had, I am ex­tremely proud and be­lieve that the year was good for Zim­babwe Cricket. train to­gether when­ever pos­si­ble,” he said.

Naslin is also happy for her boyfriend’s achieve­ments.

“I am happy he is suc­ceed­ing in his vol­ley­ball ca­reer, he works hard and de­serves the best,” she said.

Heath Streak Sikandar Raza

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