WARWICKSHIRE skipper Heath Streak has revealed that leading the Bears this season held no fear for him — back home he is used to dealing with lions as a professional safari guide!
The former Zimbabwe captain Streak has reli
shed the top job at Edgbaston after taking over the captaincy this summer from Nick Knight.
But while sport remains his top priority at the moment, his real passion away from the game is swapping the cricket field for the bush.
Streak and his father Denis, also a former Zimbabwe cricketer, run a farm, ranch and safari camp near Bulawayo.
Instead of facing short balls and fired-up fast bowlers the Warwickshire skipper is more used to helping visitors to see leaping impala, stampeding zebras and wild wildebeest.
And the 32-year-old admits that when he quits the game he is ready to spend most of his time in the great outdoors as a guide.
“I’ve passed my safari guide apprenticeship — it’s something that I really enjoy doing when I get the chance,” said Streak.
“It is my real passion away from cricket. I love it in the bush and spending any spare time with nature.
“At the moment it’s difficult to combine the two things. The summer here is our winter back home and, in terms of safari, that is the ideal time to be doing it. So I tend to miss out.
“Last time I went home during the English summer, I also ended up playing cricket so I didn’t get the chance then.
“Maybe next time I go back with the family for a holiday we can go out into the bush.
“It is one of the things I like to do to relax and take my mind off things.
“My family have a ranch so being a safari guide is something they encouraged me to get into. In the future I would like to get even more into it. But which is more difficult, leading Warwickshire or people on safari? I’d say they both have their moments but I enjoy them both.”
Warwickshire have endured a difficult season under Streak and the pace ace admits the team have under-achieved with mixed results in the County Championship and failure to make the last eight in the Twenty20 Cup.
Streak has now issued a rallying cry and urged his under-pressure side to make amends in the second half of the season by pushing for a top-half finish in the four-day game and concentrating their efforts on the new Pro40 League. But he admits the Warwickshire batsmen must start to perform after misfiring in the opening months.
He said: “The two areas we really need to look at are how we play spin and our batting in general.
“We’ve played on some difficult wickets but the Twenty20 Cup came at the right time for us. Some of the batsmen can come out of it with real confidence.
“If they can transfer that into the first-class game we will be on the right road.
“We’re all looking forward to the second half of the season. It’s important for us in the first couple of games to get some positive results in the bag.
“The captaincy has been challenging but I’ve enjoyed every second of it,” he added.
“There have been difficult times — nerve-racking moments when you have to learn to be realistic.
“We’ve played on some spin-friendly wickets without any real spinner in our attack.
“But if we’re honest with ourselves we’ve still under-achieved despite the fact we have been hit by injuries and call-ups.”
Warwickshire’s bid to climb the table has been handed a boost by the capture of Paul Harris to fill the void left by the injured Daniel Vettori. The slow left-arm bowler trialled with the Second XI last month whilst over in England playing for Lancashire League Club Fleetwood. — Coventry Evening Standard.