Collis King England deported West Indies Barbados
Collis King in action at Durban © Getty Images (file photo)

Thirty-nine years ago, Collis King had joined Viv Richards in a World Cup final, at Lord’s. West Indies were reeling at 99 for 4 at that stage. By the time King departed — 77 minutes later — the match had turned on its head. King did the unthinkable: he dominated a partnership with Richards, smashing 86 out of 138. King’s onslaught had lasted 66 minutes — this was 1979, remember — and had included 10 fours and 3 sixes. Viv’s 138 not out was the masterclass innings, but King’s was the more brutal. West Indies piled up 286 for 9 before Joel Garner ran through England.

King played 9 Tests and 18 ODIs, his career coming to a premature end after he went to South Africa as part of the rebel tours. He later played for Glamorgan and Worcestershire as well as in the Yorkshire Premier League, North for Dunnington. The Telegraph added that he has scored more 50 hundreds in the league. League officials have claimed that he has set up records and setting records that “will never be broken”.

King lived there till recently — before he was deported “on a technicality surrounding a visa application,” as reported by The Telegraph. As a result King is stuck in Barbados, unable to meet his British wife, waging a legal war against Britain’s strict immigration laws. In fact, King had his Barbados passport confiscated at Heathrow before he boarded his flight home: what if he went absconding?

King had applied for a spousal visa, which was rejected because he had applied while he was still in UK on a visitor’s visa. He was asked to apply for the visa from Barbados, and had to leave UK within 14 days for the same reason. He obliged, but there has been no update for the past three months. As per The Telegraph, Hartley Alleyne, a Bajan who had played for Kent and Worcestershire, had to wait for three years.

King obviously feels frustrated: “I felt like I was treated like a criminal. It has really shaken me that after all that time that I can’t stay. It really hit me for six. We tried to get some help at the embassy in Barbados but it is all done online: there is hardly anybody in Barbados to give you any help. I have given all the information they asked for and more. I have waited and waited and nothing has happened.

“I have been playing cricket in the UK for many years but I have always come back when my visa stated. I have never stayed longer than I was due to stay. If I had six months to play in the leagues, I would always come back on time. Never once in 44 years have I overstayed my time.

“I was not born a British citizen but I have been going to Britain long enough to feel part of the English set-up. You cannot come to a country for so many years without loving the place. I have been coming and going, loving the country and that is the sad thing, really. I have talked to Desmond Haynes and Wes Hall about it and when I tell people what’s going on, they say: ‘That can’t be right.’ But it is right because here I am, stuck in Barbados not knowing when this will end.

“It really hit me hard, that experience. But now it is all a waiting process. I am a fit person and play club cricket when I can. I love cricket and whether playing years professionally or as an amateur, I have always put something back. I coach voluntarily and it is saddening, really.

“They said the appeal could take four weeks, or it could take 15 weeks. Next month, it will be four months and, of course, there is no guarantee it will be approved. I don’t know how they system works. I can only guess, hope and speculate that things will go right.”