Heath Streakindia Updated: Jan 29, 2003 23:52 IST
A top class opening bowler, at one time ranked in some systems in the top 5 in the world, and an effective wicket taker at the highest level. Combining pace, aggression and late movement, when fully fit he can trouble any batsman in the world. Most effective in short spells as a strike bowler, he has all too often had to bowl long spells as a stock bowler.
He has always been an all-rounder, fully able to contribute with the bat (with several first class hundreds) and one of the best fielders in the world today, although in the wake of his bowling triumphs this is often overlooked. On his Test debut against Pakistan in 1993-94 he took no wickets, but battled manfully for more than two hours to score 19 not out, in a desperate and unavailing bid to save Zimbabwe from defeat.
Then, in the Second Test at Rawalpindi, he bowled superbly, taking five wickets for 56, then the best bowling figures by a Zimbabwean in an innings, and eight wickets in the match. Since then he has rarely looked back. His best performances were in the 1994-96 period, where he led a Zimbabwe attack much depleted by injury.
Since then he has struggled with injuries himself, and the emergence of good young bowlers has eased the load on him. After his success against Pakistan, Heath accepted a one-year contract to play county cricket for Hampshire. His father Denis, frequently a Zimbabwe tour manager, played a number of matches for the national side between 1976 and 1985 (John Ward 1999).