Now that the shock is beginning to subside, some difficult and uncomfortable questions are being asked about the current Pakistani bookie scandal. Such as: is it so wrong to agree to bowl a no-ball when you still deliver the goods in the match? Andrew Miller spells out the debate in Cricinfo:
Asif and Amir can point to some of the most sensational fast bowling seen in England for two decades – 31 wickets at 24.29 doesn’t look like the work of a pair of under-achievers – while Butt can restate his boast that both Australia and England have been brought low on this tour – no matter how circuitous the route to both victories turned out to be.
There in a nutshell is the paradox of spot-fixing. It need not affect the end-game, and as this investigation unfolds, it may even prove to be so endemic that the players themselves see no harm in accepting the bonuses that come along the way. A sporting career is, after all, distinctly finite – even one as youthful and brimful with promise as Amir’s. And in a country as traumatised as Pakistan, where one’s brief time at the top could transform not only one’s own life but that of everyone around you, it is so wrong to reach that extra metre? A love of money may be the root of all evil, but can it always be classified as a sin?
This is a tough question, but let’s try and articulate the moral case against spot-fixing.
A) You are not performing at the level you could, thus depriving yourself, your teammates, and the opposing side of a fair game. (E.g. What would have happened if Aamer picked up a wicket on that ball?)
B) In countries where gambling is legal, you are colluding in a massive conspiracy that cheats thousands of people. Granted, I think it’s foolish for anyone to bet on something as insignificant as a no-ball or wide, but people who do it under the purview of the law shouldn’t lose their cash because of “insider trading.” Chance is chance.
C) The “gateway” argument, that is, spot-fixing could easily lead to match-fixing. There are already claims in the News of the World that the Sydney Test was rigged, and that the upcoming ODIs would have been as well. To allow spot-fixing is to make the slope toward match-fixing much, much easier to travel. (This is more of a consequentialist argument, but important to consider.)
Any other arguments against spot-fixing?