Critics have questioned the professionalism and wisdom of PCB officials engaging in such activities during an international tournament. This incident has also shed light on a trend of PCB officials travelling to Colombo during the Asia Cup on official visits, which has come under scrutiny.
In response to the media and social media backlash, Kalson and Ali clarified that their visit to the casino was solely for dinner. However, their explanation has been met with scepticism and derision, both on social media platforms and among former Test players.
“Not many are buying the explanation that they went to a casino just for dinner. It’s a bit hard to swallow,” remarked cricket writer Omair Alavi.
A source within the PCB hinted at potential disciplinary consequences for the two officials upon their return, indicating that the PCB’s Cricket Management Committee may need to address the matter, despite their clarification.
Former Test opener Mohsin Khan expressed his surprise and disappointment at the behaviour of the PCB officials, highlighting the strict codes of conduct that govern international cricket and the historical precedent of similar incidents.
Ironically, during the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Moin Khan, Pakistan’s former captain who served as manager and chief selector of the team, was recalled to Pakistan after he and his wife were spotted at a casino in Christchurch before a match against West Indies. Moin maintained that they were there for dinner, but then PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan emphasised that Moin’s actions breached both the team’s and the PCB’s contractual code of conduct.
Shaharyar Khan justified his strong response at the time by stressing the need for all PCB officials and players to adhere to the board’s and ICC’s Anti-Corruption Code, which strictly prohibits visits to gambling establishments or locations with an increased risk of corruption.
In a surprising turn of events, reports indicate that during a meeting in Pallekele, a senior PCB official faced strong criticism from Jay Shah, the chairman of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Shah allegedly reacted strongly to comments made by the PCB official during the meeting.
(With inputs from PTI)