Tony Becca | Congrats Imran, good luck Collis

first_imgThere is a saying that there are different strokes for different folks, and although the circumstances are somewhat different, there is a difference in the strokes for Imran Khan and Collis King. While both men are cricketers, with one once married to a well-to-do Englishwoman and the other married to a simple Englishwoman, one was a famous cricketer and captain of his country, the other a not-so-famous cricketer who enjoyed one or two moments in the limelight; and one is now Prime Minister and the other is hunting a visa that would allow him to stay in England with his English wife. On top of that, one was schooled in England, where he attended Oxford University, and the other was not. Imran Khan, the first Test cricketer to become a prime minister and a former all-rounder who played for Pakistan on 88 occasions covering 22 years, scored 3,807 runs and six centuries; took 362 wickets; captained Pakistan and led them to a World Cup title in 1991-92; and was one of Pakistan’s most popular and most loved cricketers. He had the image of a play boy, and was a philanthropist, who is remembered for building a hospital in memory of his mother. As a captain, Imran, like Don Bradman of Australia and Clive Lloyd of the West Indies, was like a father figure and was well respected by his players, among whom were numbered Wasim Akram and WaqarYounis, two of the great fast bowlers; also Abul Qadir, a right-arm wrist spinner extraordinaire; and Javed Miandad, a batsman from the top drawer. Imran, the leader of the Tehreek-e-Insaaf party (Movement for Justice), was also a member of the National Assembly from 2002 to 2007 and from 2013 to 2018. He is regarded as a nationalist and a liberal and vows to apologise to Bangladesh for the events of 1971, to get rid of corruption, and to clean up the judiciary and the police force, among many other things. Will he be able to accomplish all the things on his wish list, especially as he is a critic of the United States and China and their policies? INFLUENCE THE REALITY While Imran Khan now sits as the prime minister of Pakistan, Collis King, of Barbados, Glamorgan, Natal, Worcestershire, and the West Indies, is sitting at home in Barbados awaiting a visa that will allow him to live in England with his English wife. Collis has travelled in and out of England for the past 44 years, playing cricket and coaching cricketing and never once, in his own words, overstaying his welcome. Some months ago, while in England on one of his regular visits, Collis decided that it was time to spend his time with his wife on a regular basis, and he applied for the relevant visa in order to do so. What he thought would have been a mere formality, however, turned out to be a nightmare. Collis was told that he had to go back to Barbados and apply from there, that he could not do it from inside England, and that he had 10 days to leave England. On top of all that, when he got to Heathrow airport on his way home to Barbados, his passport was confiscated and was later returned to him when he landed in Barbados. The hero of the World Cup final at Lord’s in 1979 when he blasted a majestic innings of 86 to lead the West Indies to victory over England and one of the most popular cricketers in the northern leagues and current coach of Dunnington CC in Yorkshire, Collis, a West Indian, has contributed a lot to the development of English cricket for 44 years. Remembering the Japanese camp commander in the film, Bridge on the River Quay, when he told the English prisoner of war, Alec Guinness, who talked glowingly about the rules and prisoners’ rights, “Rules! This is war, not a game of cricket”, that is the question most people are asking. There is one thing Imran can influence in Pakistan, however, and that is the future of cricket, maybe not when it comes to whether Pakistan play international cricket at home, but how cricket is played in Pakistan. Imran loves cricket. As the prime minister of Pakistan, he is the automatic patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board, his government has two members on the board, and he has the power to remove the chairman of the board. Imran has repeatedly criticised domestic cricket in Pakistan, including the structure of the game, where banks and airlines take precedence over regions and where quantity is more important that quality. It is no secret that the present PCB chairman, Najam Sethi, and Imran do not see to eye on matters of cricket. Changes in government have always seen changes in the PCB, and this time, there will be changes. Collis King’s problems West Indians, especially cricket-playing West Indians, and especially Barbadians, have always considered England a home away from home. To Collis King, a West Indies cricketer, a West Indian cricket hero, however, the reality is not really so. “They treated me like a criminal. I was born a British citizen. I have been going to Britain long enough, and I feel a part of the English set-up. I really have been hit hard,” lamented a badly hurt Collis King in Bridgetown, recently. To make matters worse, such is the system of application for a visa that King has no one to speak to re his problem. Would Collis King, a cricket hero, have been treated in such a manner had he been an Australian, a South African, or a New Zealander, especially after playing and coaching in England for so long and having married an English girl? I do not know, but all things being equal, I hardly believe so. Good luck, Collis, but the truth is that the days of “mother England” ended, for Barbados and you, on November 30, 1966, and on top of it, your dazzling fireworks at Lord’s in 1979 was for the West Indies and not for England.last_img