Heath Streak has apologised for his involvement in corruption claiming he “unwittingly flouted” International Cricket Council regulations earning an eight-year ban from the game.
Streak, the former Zimbabwe captain, was found to have given information that could be used for betting purposes to Deepak Agarwal, an Indian businessman who was banned for two years by the ICC last year for his breaching anti-corruption offences.
In a lengthy statement released yesterday, Streak broke his public silence admitting he received bitcoin from an individual named Mr X in the ICC report but who has been subsequently named widely as Agarwal, who approached him in 2017 under the guise of setting up a Twenty20 league in Zimbabwe.
“I apologise sincerely to my family, friends, the cricket loving public and most of all my fellow Zimbabweans who have, over the years, shown me love and support during the numerous trials and tribulations we have faced,” Streak said yesterday.
Streak was known to many leading cricketers after his long playing career and involvement coaching Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and in various franchise leagues. Agarwal was the corruptor who approached Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hassan, who was banned for two years in 2019, an introduction made through Streak. It was during the Shakib investigation that one of Agarwal’s phones was found to contain WhatsApp messages with Streak.
Streak was banned for eight years earlier this month after accepting five charges of failing to disclose approaches, facilitating contact with players and accepting gifts from a corruptor. Streak, in his statement, admitted receiving Bitcoin, a mobile phone for his wife and a bottle of whisky, but stated he never gave away any information that could be used to fix matches.
“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,” said Streak. “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 the Bitcoin, to assist in buying and building teams in different regional T20 competitions, which was successful, resulting in the purchase of a team in Dubai for this individual.
“Much later on in our friendship the only other thing I received was a bottle of whisky and my wife was gifted a phone. Several months down the line the ICC then brought to my attention the fact that the individual with whom I had been dealing, and some of the information that I had shared during our friendship/interaction may have been used for online betting.”
Streak was the subject of a two-year investigation by the ICC’s anti-corruption unit.
Alex Marshall, the head of the ICC’s anti-corruption unit, said Streak as a former captain and coach “held a position of trust and owed a duty to uphold the integrity of the game”. He facilitated the approach of four players and “sought to obstruct and delay our investigation”.
Streak, who played county cricket for Warwickshire and Hampshire, has since resigned from the academy in Zimbabwe set up in his name and has agreed to help the ICC with its anti-corruption education programmes.
“The ICC carried out a detailed and thorough investigation of our relationship over a two year period. I submitted myself to the process and co-operated at every turn. At the end of the enquiry it became evident that through my excitement and desire to bring the T20 Tournament to Zimbabwe and build a relationship with the individual, I had unwittingly flouted some of the elements of the ICC ethics code,” said Streak.
“In hindsight, I should have been more cautious especially given my position and all the information and opinions to which I am privy, however insignificant they appeared to me at the time.
“As a team owner I also introduced people to the individual in the belief that I was adding value to their careers and creating opportunities. I understand fully that it may not have been my fault but was, and it is, my responsibility to uphold the ICC code. I therefore take full responsibility for my actions.
“I hope that my sanction may serve as a cautionary tale for all people involved in this amazing game we love, at every level, and will help them understand that they are duty bound to a higher standard of confidentiality and restraint.” — Telegraph