As ICC Ban Heath Streak, WhatsApp Chats With Indian “Mr X” Revealed

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Former Zimbabwe cricket captain Heath Streak was on Wednesday banned for eight years on corruption charges, the International Cricket Council announced, after being implicated for his dealings with a shadowy Indian gambler identified only as “Mr X”. “Mr Streak chose to admit the charges and agreed the sanction with the ICC in lieu of an Anti-Corruption Tribunal hearing,” an ICC statement said. The Zimbabwe coach from 2016 to 2018, his ban extends until March, 2029.

Streak, 47, was found guilty of breaching five rules of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Code related to betting.

He disclosed inside information in relation to matches in the 2018 Tri-Series involving Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the Zimbabwe v Afghanistan series in 2018, the IPL 2018 and the APL 2018, the statement revealed.

He also “facilitated or attempted to facilitate” the introduction of four players including a national captain to a third party for inside information for betting purposes.

He was also found guilty of obstructing the ICC’s investigation, and failing to declare a “gift, payment, hospitality or other benefit” from passing on inside information.

In the ICC’s rap sheet Streak is said to have been in contact via Whatsapp with “an Indian gentleman, Mr X” in 2017.

According to the ICC, the conversations between Streak and Mr X on the social media platform spanned 15 months.

“During these discussions, Mr X made it clear to Mr Streak that he was involved in betting on cricket, and also requested details of Mr Streak’s bank account outside Zimbabwe, which Mr Streak provided,” the ICC said.

In payment for inside information Streak acknowledged receiving two bitcoins subsequently converted into $35,000 in cash.

He admits deleting his correspondence with Mr X before an interview with the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit.

Alex Marshall, general manager of the ICC’s Integrity Unit, said: “As a former captain and coach, he held a position of trust and owed a duty to uphold the integrity of the game.”

He added: “The offences did not affect the outcomes of any relevant matches and Mr Streak has agreed to assist the ICC anti-corruption education programme for which we are grateful.

“He has also expressed his remorse and contrition and entered this agreed sanction decision to avoid the need for a full disciplinary process. The sanction reflects this cooperation.”

Streak was handed the Zimbabwe reins in October, 2016, as replacement for the sacked Dav Whatmore.

The former fast bowler retired from playing in 2005 after a 12-year career, claiming 216 wickets in 65 Tests, and 239 wickets in 189 one-day internationals.

He remains the only Zimbabwean bowler with more than 100 Test wickets.

As well as two spells as coach of Zimbabwe he also coached Bangladesh between 2014-2016, and acted as bowling coach for the Kolkata Knight Riders team in the 2018 edition of the IPL and the Kabul Zwanan team in the 2018 APL.

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Heath could also face a criminal prosecution in the Zimbabwe courts.

“The (sports) ministry has requested the National Prosecuting Authority to ascertain whether any criminal laws, particularly those relating to corruption, have been breached by Heath Streak,” said Gerald Mlotshwa, the president of the country’s Sports and Recreation Commission.

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