39 YEARS ago this summer, West Indian cricketer Collis King was at the top of his career. The Barbados-born all-rounder had just smashed England's bowlers all over Lord's, with his 86 scored off just 66 balls helping to propel the West Indies to a World Cup final victory over England.

But despite the celebrations carrying on long into the night, something else was also on King's mind that day - namely the fortunes of a small cricket club in North Wales where the previous year he had re-written the record books during a remarkable season at Pontblyddn's picturesque Alder Meadow ground.

"The story goes that on the night of the World Cup final in 1979, Collis phoned up the club to find out how they got on in their league match," remembers Pontblyddn's current chairman Peter Kaufmann. "It's incredible that on probably his greatest ever day in cricket he could be bothered to call up and see if we'd won or not. That goes to the heart of the sort of person he is."

Sadly King is back in the news for all the wrong reasons after it recently emerged that he had been forced to return to Barbados while applying for a visa to live in the UK alongside his British wife.

Although distinct from the recent controversial measures which have dogged the so-called 'Windrush Generation', King has fallen foul of heightened restrictions surrounding immigration, leaving the 67-year-old in a self-proclaimed limbo after being told he could not submit an application for a spousal visa while still in the country, before being given 14 days to return to the Caribbean.

King's treatment contrasts sharply with that of Sir Viv Richards who put on a partnership of 149 for the fifth wicket alongside the Barbadian that day at Lord's. While Richards was knighted in 1999, King says he has been stuck in Barbados for over four months waiting for any information about his application.

In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, King said he had been "treated like a criminal" after the authorities took his passport away at the airport, and only returned when his flight landed in Bridgetown.

"I was not born a British citizen but I have been going to Britain long enough to feel part of the English set-up," King told journalist Nick Hoult. "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. 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."

King's plight has prompted voices of support from across the cricketing community including that of Colin Graves, the chairman of the English Cricket Board (ECB), who got to know the West India when he was chairman of Dunnington CC in Yorkshire, where King has played and coached for 20 years.

"I was staggered that his application was thrown out without any further investigation," Graves told the Daily Telegraph "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."

Graves has offered to to act as a referee for King and write a letter of support, but back in North Wales, Pontblythnn's chairman is prepared to go the extra mile and offer the stricken cricketer somewhere to live.

"I am appalled by the treatment that has been meted out to him," said Peter. "You shouldn't treat anyone like that let alone someone who he is a heroic figure and a sporting icon."

Helping the village club win promotion to the North Wales League Division One, in just 12 matches King hit 74 sixes and 92 fours, totalling 812 runs out of his season's aggregate of 1,115 and finishing with an average of 139.

He also grabbed 44 wickets at just four runs each and not surprisingly won the league's divisional batting and bowling awards.

"I played one game with him," remembers Peter. "He was standing at extra cover and refused to take an easy catch before promptly taking the ball and hurling it in at the stumps so the other batsman was run out.

"At the moment, we as a club, are considering what is the best thing to do but I'd be more than happy to provide Collis with some financial guarantees and provide accommodation if the Home Office fear he's going to be claiming benefits," he added.

"If the situation remains like this we will be writing to the Home Secretary as I cannot believe there are ministers who would behave so crassly but hopefully more important people than me will also come to Collis' support.

"Everyone here thinks it is dreadful how he is being treated and we echo all of Colin Graves' statements on the matter because we regard him as a momentous individual who helped the club enormously."