The fallout after the sacking of Zimbabwe coach Heath Streak continued after the former international seam bowler had to strongly deny that he was a racist.
Streak, along with his entire coaching staff, were sacked after Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the World Cup with Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) defending their decision.
ZC chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani then told the Daily News publication that some of Streak’s selections during his spell as coach were based on racism.
Mukuhlani said: “Streak was the coach and selector, he was entitled to change the team as he found fit but the question is: why did he change the team in the manner that he did?”
“The white players knew PJ Moor was going to play [against UAE] but none of the black players knew about it. Cephas Zhuwao was only informed [that he wouldn’t play] in the warm-up. Why didn’t Streak inform the entire team?”
Streak however hit back with a statement on social media, rejecting all allegations of racism and saying that the board lacked any cricket experience.
Speaking in Ndebele, an indigenous Zimbabwean language, Streak read: “I’ve been accused by the chairman of ZC of being a racist, I find this preposterous and laughable and even to respond to them for people who know me, is lowering my standards.
“But I just want to make a few things notable. Our selection panel consisted of myself, Tatenda Taibu and Douglas Hondo. They are always consulted, and we always reached consensus on our teams.
“(Captain) Graeme Cremer was not a selector, but he gave advice, and we also spoke to other guys outside, including the franchise coaches at times, to give us some of their thoughts.
“The allegations that during the WCQ, I dropped black players for white players is also ludicrous. When I dropped people like Kyle Jarvis for Tendai Chisoro nothing was said, but when I dropped Cephas Zhwao for PJ Moor, then I’m a racist.
“Those who are around me and who know me and are most important to me as in the players can vouch for that [I’m not a racist].
“Why do all these people that the chairman claims are accusing me of racism, why do they not come out in public and say that themselves?
“Let’s see that. This is not about Heath Streak and Tatenda Taibu being fired, this is a bigger thing.
“If you look at the collective time all the coaches who were fired have put into playing for Zimbabwe and the time we’ve spent coaching, it amounts to decades.
“I think the way we’ve been treated, the way we were fired, it just isn’t right, and it’s not ethical that you can treat people like that. I’m just really sad that five of eight Level 3 coaches have been fired by Zimbabwe Cricket.
“We have people like physiotherapists and trainers who have nothing to do with how the team performs. They are not technical staff, they are there to get people fit and on the park, and they can’t be fired. I think that’s ludicrous and just wrong.”
Streak also spoke about the how the financial crunch has affected the national team with Zimbabwe Cricket still having to pay off huge debts.
The former coach highlighted the fact that he and batting coach Lance Klusener had only been paid 40 per cent of their salaries and that they had not yet received their money for the month of February.
Streak continued: “I think the ZC need to have a long hard look at themselves.
“How many cricketers are there on the ZC board, I ask? Every other board in the world has a number of cricketers, ex-cricketers and people who’ve played at a decent level.
“We don’t even have one cap of domestic cricket on the current board. So how do they make decisions, cricket-based decisions, affect people whose livelihoods and finances are dependent on that?”
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