ZCU reacts swiftly to stop him coaching November 5, 2004

Chingoka keeps Streak out in the cold

Cricinfo staff

Heath Streak: thanks but no thanks © Getty Images
Hopes that the Zimbabwe Cricket Union was serious that it was willing to accept the return of the rebel players appeared to be dashed with the response of the board to news that Heath Streak was helping out Matabeleland in an unpaid capacity.

Streak, a former Matabeleland captain, had accepted an invitation to help Pommie Mbangwa, their bowling coach, on a voluntary basis. But as soon as ZCU officials became aware of the situation, they demanded that Streak withdraw. They were probably further irked by the excellent reception Streak received from spectators of all colours when he was spotted on the ground at Bulawayo.

Peter Chingoka, the ZCU's chairman, has been at the forefront of those making conciliatory comments. But he claimed that Matabeleland had acted inappropriately and that the Logan Cup, Zimbabwe's domestic first-class competition, depended "on adherence to appointments within existing structures otherwise one risks having those who should benefit not being in place at the right time.

"The appointments of the four provincial coaches were well-structured and done in consultation with the national team coach and national selectors," Chingoka told the government-controlled Herald newspaper. "Streak's involvement was irregular as it did not go through this process. The protocol was breached and the person who made the ad hoc appointment has since apologised to the Union for the breach. Because of the irregularity, we did ask Heath not to be involved but he was not replaced by Phil Simmons." Coincidently, Chingoka added that the ZCU was about to appoint an assistant coach to Mbangwa.

The ZCU's action is unlikely to do anything to smooth the way to a settlement, nor is Zimbabwe cricket is a position that it can afford to shut out players of Streak's calibre.

ZCU officials were not available for comment. They refuse to speak to Cricinfo as they do not approve of our coverage of cricket inside Zimbabwe.