County news

Starc deported over visa error

David Hopps

May 8, 2012

Comments: 46 | Text size: A | A

Mitchell Starc appeals, West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 3rd day, April 25, 2012
Mitchell Starc's appeals came to nothing as the UK Border Agency ordered him to return to Australia to fill in his visa forms correctly © AFP
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Mitchell Starc, the Australia left-arm quick, will not be able to make his Yorkshire debut this week after being deported following a visa error that initially led to him being detained at Heathrow for more than four hours.

He has been instructed to fly halfway around the world, fill in a couple of forms correctly and then fly all the way back again. His girlfriend has been allowed to stay in England.

During Tuesday, Yorkshire were still hopeful of clearing up the situation but late in the afternoon Starc tweeted: "Well that's a first! Being deported from England.. Surely nothing else can go wrong can it?!?!" He expanded later: "Visa issue. Incorrect communication from aus. Will be straight back to UK ASAP once sorted.

Starc aims to be available for next week's match against Hampshire. What phsyical state he is in remains to be seen.

Colin Graves, Yorkshire's chairman, put the blame on Starc's agent. "The whole thing to be honest is a fiasco," he said. "This to me just shows that you get good agents and bad agents, and this agent hasn't done a proper job.

"We've got everything right, and Cricket Australia will look at it and say he's got what's required, and after that it's down to the agent. You can't blame the English authorities, they've got rules and regulations, and he didn't have the proper paperwork."

With Yorkshire mired in debt, Graves insisted that he would not be paying the return air fare. "We've told them straight, we're not paying the airfare again," he added. "We paid originally but now it's down to them."

Yorkshire had initially blamed Cricket Australia for filling out an incorrect visa form, bringing swift denials that they were not involved in the visa application process.

"Mitchell is on annual leave and decided to organise a short-term contract with Yorkshire. It has absolutely nothing to do with us," a CA spokesman told AFP. "We have sent plenty of people to England and know all the requirements. Saying that, we have made it clear that if Mitchell needs our help, we are happy to do that."

The latest visa delay - three West Indies cricketers have also been held up by visa issues ahead of their tour of England - brings into question whether UK visa policy is quick and flexible enough to deal with elite sportsmen and women who regularly come and go to the UK on profesisonal sports contracts.

Yorkshire's frustration follows their stand-off with their England pace bowler, Ajmal Shahzad, who has upped sticks to Lancashire after a long-running dispute over his reluctance to bowl in the approved style.

Earlier Yorkshire's captain, Andrew Gale said: "I don't think Australia filled out a form correctly when he was out in the West Indies, and he spent four or five hours being questioned in the airport. If we can't sort it out, we'll have to drop him at Heathrow on the way down to Bristol."

Yorkshire will definitely have Tim Bresnan available for his third Championship match of the summer after England decided that he would benefit from another bowling workout ahead of the first Test against West Indies at Lord's next week.

Starc was due to play four Championship matches in a deal that, initially at least, only lasts five weeks. He could conceivably be called up for Australia's ODI series in England between June 21 and July 10, and a subsequent Australia A tour between July 27 and August 17.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (May 10, 2012, 5:48 GMT)

@jmcilhinney - who plays Cybil??

Posted by VijayEden on (May 10, 2012, 1:43 GMT)

Just returned back to OZ after visiting 12 countries in the last 5 weeks and we had NO visa issues and we had NO agent representing us!! You dont need to be a brain surgeon to meet the relevant requirements and fill in the necesary forms before leaving shore!!

Posted by disco_bob on (May 10, 2012, 1:38 GMT)

How can Starc be so irresponsible. If you need a visa then you have to get a visa, and then you either have it or you don't. It's not rocket science.

Posted by Meety on (May 10, 2012, 0:07 GMT)

@YorkshirePudding - history repeating itself?

Posted by dunger.bob on (May 9, 2012, 22:44 GMT)

If you can sneak him past the razor wire and get him on the field, hopefully Starc will do a job for you. Tall left hander with good pace and a decent change of pace as well. He can swing the ball, mainly away from the left handed batsman but his main wicket taking asset is the occasional steep bounce he gets. ... also seems quite handy with the bat. ... Starc is only a kid and has a lot to learn but I think he could become a fixture in the Aussie team (mainly because of his cacky handedness) if he can knock a few of the rough edges off. .. anyway, good luck to him and also Yorkshire. ..

Posted by   on (May 9, 2012, 20:14 GMT)

@caveman. The BCCI was not blamed for this because they are not responsible for this. WE only blame BCCI for what they are responsible fo.r

Posted by yorkshirematt on (May 9, 2012, 18:19 GMT)

@Benn Kempster. That would be the better option but yorkshire, of all counties, have always been reluctant to go down the oversea player option. I think I am right in thinking that only two (three when starc signs) of our first team squad are from outside Yorkshire: Phil Jaques and Gary Ballance. Virtually a fully home grown squad compared to other counties. Also with our Australian connections with Gillespie as coach it does make sense. Starc may turn out to be a flop but only time will tell but Yorkshire need some more depth in the bowling department, and what better way to get that than signing an Australian test bowler

Posted by thebrownie on (May 9, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

@legaleagle: I might have been wrong about the stamp on the passport. But Starc is not a crimina/illegall to have been "deported" from the country or refused entry. He could have entered as a tourist. Of course for him to "work" he needed the right paper work for which ne had to go back to Australia. He would have contravened the immigration laws only if he had played after entering as a tourist.

Posted by JohnMitchell on (May 9, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

David Hopps is absolutely right. Use a tiny bit of discretion and let the guy in.

Posted by dunger.bob on (May 9, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

As Richie would say, a bit of a schoolboy error.

Comments have now been closed for this article

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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