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Colin Graves throws support behind King immigration battle

PICTURED: Colin Graves and Collis King (Photo credit: PA / Graham Morris)

COLIN GRAVES, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has thrown his support behind West Indian cricketer Collis King’s immigration battle, describing him as a “colossus” of Yorkshire club cricket.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Graves has offered to act as a ­referee and write a letter of support for King, who has been stuck in Barbados for the past four months after having his application to live in the UK turned down despite spending 44 years working in the country as a professional cricketer and coach.

The Daily Telegraph revealed on Tuesday (Jul 17) that King was given two weeks to leave the UK earlier this year after his application for a spousal visa was turned down because it should have been submitted from the country of origin and not the UK.

Since his immigration troubles went public, King has received mass support from friends and colleagues including Graves and support form one of his former clubs in Wales, where he played in the 1970s and 1980s.

“I have known him for 25 years and he has played in and around Yorkshire, and the amount of coaching he has done with kids and schools has been fabulous,” he said. “He has really promoted kids’ cricket and developed and coached players. It is not like he has just turned up, played and left. He has been part of the community wherever he has been.

“I know Dunnington did not have a junior section before he went to play for them. He started it up and now they have 70-80 kids and he is still coaching now. That is where he has been a big asset.

“He has never been a drain on anybody. He has never drawn benefits and he is so fit and active I doubt he has ever used the NHS.

“I was staggered that his application was thrown out without any further investigation. Someone just looked at it and said, ‘On your bike’ and he was out. Nobody seemed to bother to look at it. It was cold and that is what upset me. They did not look at the individual, it was just another number on a file.

“From a cricket point of view in Yorkshire he has been a colossus. He is known around all the clubs and we will do everything we can from a cricket point of view because he is helping with what we are trying to achieve in the recreational game.”

Graves is acting in a personal ­capacity to help King, rather than as chairman of the ECB.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph. King said he felt he had been treated like a criminal when he left Britain in April.

His application was turned down because he applied for a spousal visa when already in the country on a visitor’s permit. Home Office rules state a spousal visa has to be applied for from outside the UK.

“If you are looking at it from a political point of view I don’t think it is right that people like him who have come here for decades are not given indefinite right to stay," concluded Graves. "They do not have to be made citizens but they should be given indefinite right to stay. Let’s face it, people would not have invited him back to the UK year after year unless he was a good guy and not just a good cricketer.”

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