Sports Cricket 05 Feb 2017 Donald Trump’s ...

Donald Trump’s Muslim ban forces USA cricketer Fahad Babar to return home

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Feb 5, 2017, 2:10 pm IST
Updated Feb 5, 2017, 2:17 pm IST
Fahad Babar pulled out of the squad after his team’s 66-run loss at the hands of Jamaica on Wednesday night.
Babar, who had scored just 29 runs from two matches in the tournament, said that the immigration ban had been weighing heavy in his mind for a few days. (Photo: ICC Americas)
 Babar, who had scored just 29 runs from two matches in the tournament, said that the immigration ban had been weighing heavy in his mind for a few days. (Photo: ICC Americas)

Mumbai: Pakistan-origin cricketer Fahad Babar had to leave the ICC Americas side mid-way through the Regional Super50 tournament in Barbados, due to fear of not being let back into USA after President Donald Trump’s order banning people from certain Muslim countries for 90 days.

The 24-year-old pulled out of the squad after his team’s 66-run loss at the hands of Jamaica on Wednesday night, to go back to Chicago, early on Thursday morning.

 

"I had no issues coming in and out," Babar said to ESPNcricinfo. "But there's always that fear which bothers you. So that's the issue. Other than that I've had no other problems."

Babar, who is a Pakistani national, had to be a resident of USA for seven years before being able to play for the country (under the ICC’s rule). He was advised by his immigration lawyer to return to the country as a precautionary measure.

The current US immigration ban is applicable to people from seven different nations – Iran, Iraq, Lybia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

 

Babar, who had scored just 29 runs from two matches in the tournament, said that the immigration ban had been weighing heavy in his mind for a few days, and that is something that could have affected his performance on the pitch.

"Cricket is a mental game and you have to be mentally fit enough to play the game and I think it affected me a little bit in my performance," Babar said.

"I worked really hard to get into the ICC Americas team. I had to perform and prove myself before coming here. I was in Sri Lanka to gain experience to work hard towards this,” he continued. “Unfortunately, it's not my time right now. That's what I can say and I will work hard in the future to get another opportunity. It's disappointing but it's life and you have to be strong sometimes to get through this."

 

While Pakistan is not on Trump’s ban list, the country’s proximity to the banned nations makes the situation tricky for Babar, explained his immigration lawyer William McClean.

"He's [Fahad] from Pakistan which is close to those other countries and might be next on the chopping block. If he's out of the US when they say, 'okay we're extending the ban to Pakistani people', Fahad will be barred,” said McClean. “He will not be allowed to come back into the United States even if he's travelling for cricket and that's what we're scared of."

 

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