Wasim Akram calls for 'drastic steps' after Pakistan's humiliation

Comprehensive defeat to old rivals India is blamed on batsmen 'who fell like cards'

Former Pakistan Test captains Wasim Akram and Zaheer Abbas have criticised the current set-up of the national team, calling for "drastic" changes after their dismal performance in the Champions Trophy. Pakistan lost all three of their fixtures, failing to score more than 170 in any match.

All-rounder Akram, who played in 104 Tests between 1985 and 2002, said he was surprised to see Pakistan struggling on a batting-friendly wicket at Edgbaston in the defeat to India by the Duckworth-Lewis method on Saturday. He was also concerned that the younger players are not performing to a good enough standard.

"Our batsmen fell like a pack of cards," Akram said. "Someone has to be brave enough and prepare young cricketers when seniors are not performing."

Last month Akram trained Pakistan's bowlers at a camp in Karachi and spent a few days with the squad when the team gathered before the start of the competition. But, after watching senior batsmen like Imran Farhat, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal faltering in England, Akram said changes needed to be made.

"I don't know if there is lack of ability in our players or there's some psychological problem, but drastic steps should be taken," he said.

Former batsman Abbas, who scored 274 against England in only his second Test in June 1971, criticised the shortage of quality batsmen in the squad and admitted there was an absence of role models in the team.

"The way I see it our poor batting performances in recent years can be put down to the fact that we are not producing role models for the new players," he said. "We need to think about how to revamp the system to produce quality players. I don't think any coaching will help until we get players of the highest calibre."

It was only the second time Pakistan have ended an ICC tournament without winning a match: the only other time was in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1998.

Coach Dav Whatmore insisted there was no underlying problem but did admit they had not scored anywhere near enough runs in the tournament. "We thought we had a decent build-up but it wasn't to be," Whatmore said. "I am sure there will be every effort to put it right next time."

Pakistan's next international assignment is a five-match one-day series and two Twenty20 matches in the West Indies next month.

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