(REUTERS) – Coach Heath Streak said he was shocked after Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) sacked him in a backroom clear-out in the wake of the team’s failure to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
Streak has been widely praised for improving the results of the side during his 18 months in charge, and exits along with his technical team, while captain Graeme Cremer has also reportedly been axed.
“It is with great regret and shock that I was told by ZC that myself and my coaching team must resign by 15:00hrs yesterday (Friday), failing which we would be fired,” Streak said in a statement.
“I chose not to resign as I believe this to be degrading to our national players and my technical team. As a result, we have been dismissed with immediate effect.”
ZC have had a clear-out of all backroom staff amid reports of financial difficulties – batting coach Lance Klusener, Zimbabwe A coach Wayne James and Under-19 coach Stephen Mangongo while convener of selectors Tatenda Taibu has also been axed.
“Thank you to my staff who worked tirelessly, often going for months unpaid and having had two pay-cuts during their tenure, but still had that unwavering professional commitment,” Streak said.
“To Graeme and all the players, thank you for your patriotism and commitment to our Chevrons team. I wish you all the very best for the future. I am deeply saddened that my journey with you ends here. Hopefully our paths will meet again in future …”
The undoubted highlight of Streak’s tenure was a 3-2 One-Day International series win in Sri Lanka last year, while his 32 matches in the format produced 12 wins and 17 losses.
But he was also left embarrassed by an innings defeat to South Africa inside two days at the end of 2017 in a day/night Test in Port Elizabeth, while a three-run loss to the United Arab Emirates in the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe saw his side fail to reach the 10-team tournament finals in England and Wales.
Zimbabwe Cricket told Reuters that they intended to release a statement on the matter later yesterday.