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Explained: Will Heath Streak’s ‘fixing’ ban impact his one-time IPL team KKR?

Heath Streak has been banned for eight years by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for corruption. Does his involvement put Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) under the scanner?

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 16, 2021 1:45:10 pm
Heath Streak played for Zimbabwe from 1993 to 2005. (Twitter/@ZimCricket)

Former Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak has been banned for eight years by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for corruption. Among others, Streak provided “inside information” to an Indian bookmaker during the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL), when he was the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bowling coach.

The BCCI, however, is unlikely to punish KKR for Streak’s transgression. Earlier, in the IPL, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) were suspended when their key officials were found to be involved in betting. But the IPL code of conduct protocols and the subsequent action for a breach are different for team owners/officials and players and support staff. Streak was a support staff with the Kolkata-based franchise.

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What were the charges?

Streak breached the ICC’s anti-corruption code by providing “inside information” in relation to a tri-series involving Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2018, the Zimbabwe versus Afghanistan series in the same year, the 2018 IPL and the 2018 Afghanistan Premier League (APL). He felicitated the introduction of four players, including a national captain, to the bookie. He received two bitcoin payments from the bookie, converted into US $35,000 in cash, and also an iPhone as a gift for his wife. Nothing was disclosed to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). Streak also failed to disclose corrupt approaches in relation to the 2017 Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and the Pakistan Super League (PSL) next year. The 47-year-old also “tampered with” the documents, which effected in “obstructing or delaying an investigation”. Streak admitted to the breaches and accepted the sanction.

Who was the bookie?

The ICC identified him as Mr X. The latter made it clear to Streak that he was involved in cricket betting. The former cricketer provided the bookie with his bank account details. Their conversation started on WhatsApp in September 2017 and over the next 15-odd months, different corrupt approaches had been made and inside information passed. The ICC report said Streak also wanted to start a T20 league in Zimbabwe. Personal email IDs and phone numbers were used for the conversations.

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What about Streak’s IPL connection?

He was the bowling coach of the now-defunct IPL franchise Gujarat Lions in 2016 and 2017 before being roped in by KKR in 2018 as Lakshmipathy Balaji’s replacement. The report put out by the ICC mentioned that Streak disclosed inside information to the Indian bookie in relation to the 2018 edition of the tournament.

Does Heath Streak’s involvement put KKR under the scanner?

Now that the game’s global body has confirmed Streak’s wrongdoings during his stint as KKR coach in the IPL, it would up to the BCCI to take a call. CSK and RR had been banned from the tournament for two years for the alleged betting activities of their key officials, Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra respectively, during the 2013 season. Meiyappan and Kundra, however, were team officials and code of conduct for them as per the IPL guidelines had been different from that of players and support staff. For example, RR didn’t face sanction, when Sreesanth and two of his teammates, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, were arrested and subsequently banned for alleged spot-fixing. It was only when the team’s co-owner Kundra’s alleged betting involvement was established, the franchise was handed suspension. Asked about the BCCI’s future course of action, a top Board official said: “It would be premature for us to comment on this. We have to go through the ICC judgment and will have to get all the details before taking a decision.”

How many coaching stints did Streak have after his retirement?

Streak played 65 Tests and 189 ODIs for Zimbabwe and after his retirement as a player in 2009, he coached the Zimbabwe national team over two stints – 2009-2013 and 2016-2018. He also coached the Bangladesh national side from 2014-2016 before acting as KKR’s bowling coach and the Kabul Zwanan team in the same capacity in the 2018 APL.

Will Streak face criminal proceedings?

It is not ruled out. According to a press release from Zimbabwe’s Sports and Recreation Commission, the country’s Ministry of Youth, Sports, Art and Recreation has requested the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to ascertain if Streak breached “any of the criminal laws in Zimbabwe, particularly those relating to corruption”. In a case of a breach, the NPA has asked to take “appropriate action”.

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