Lahore, June 5: Pakistan's humiliating defeat at the hands of arch-rivals India in their campaign opener in the Champions Trophy has cast a pall of gloom over the cricketing fraternity of the country with several former stars vocal in their criticism of the performance.
Defending champions India put up an all-round show to drub Pakistan by 124 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis (DL) method in a rain-marred Group B encounter of the Champions Trophy in Birmingham on Sunday.
Asked to bat, the Indians rode on a power-packed performance by the top order to post a challenging total of 319/3 in an innings affected by rain twice -- and consequently shortened to 48 overs.
Further rain interruptions forced the match officials to revise the target to 289 runs off 41 overs according to the DL method.
But Pakistan frittered away a steady start and could only mage 164 runs and concede yet another humiliating defeat to India in an ICC event.
The abject surrender by the tiol team prompted former captain Imran Khan to lash out at the lack of fighting spirit displayed by the Pakistanis.
"As a sportsman I know winning & losing are part of the game but it's painful to watch Pak being thrashed by India without putting up a fight," the legendary fast bowler wrote on his Twitter account.
Imran, who had led Pakistan to the World Cup title in 1992, asserted that the entire cricket structure in the country needs to be revamped in order to ensure that Pakistan again produces formidable teams as in the past.
"Unless Pak cricket structure is totally revamped/reformed, despite an abundance of talent the gap between Pak & India will keep increasing," he tweeted.
"Pak cricket cannot be fixed if the Chairman of the PCB is not appointed on professiol merit.
"Election-fixers & others who are rewarded merely for loyalty to the Sharifs will never reform Pak cricket," Imran added.
"And we will keep facing disappointment by defeats such as the one today."
Former star all-rounder Shahid Afridi meanwhile, praised the Indian players for their domint performance.
"The Indo-Pak Champions Trophy encounter failed to live up to its hype as Pakistan produced a forgettable performance at Edgbaston. As a Pakistani supporter, the drab show was a painful watch indeed as India once again proved that it has a stranglehold over its neighbour that it is in no mood to relinquish," Afridi wrote in his column for the Intertiol Cricket Council (ICC).
"India started as the favourite and played the entire game in the same frame of mind, even as Pakistan crumbled limply."
Acknowledging that India were superior in terms of technique and tactics, Afridi criticised the attitude and gameplan adopted by the Pakistan players.
"Sarfraz Ahmed won what was a crucial toss in tricky weather conditions. When rain is around, the team batting second gets a huge advantage. Unfortutely though, a poor game plan and shoddy execution, besides abysmal fielding, nullified the advantage," he said.
"Mohammad Amir bowled a splendid first over and I thought he would strike with the new ball. Strangely though, Sarfraz handed the other new ball to Imad Wasim despite the overcast conditions.
"The tactic was perplexing for me since the match wasn't being played in the UAE! Even if Sarfraz wanted to surprise India, he should have deployed his faster bowlers after an over or two from Imad," he added.
Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan had withstood a torrid initial spell by the Pakistan pacers to post half-centuries and give their team a strong start.
"Players of the calibre of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are very hard to stop if they are allowed to settle early, and that is what Pakistan allowed them to do," Afridi said.
"While the Indian openers negotiated Amir carefully, they gradually got their eye in against Imad. Pakistan missed a trick and for the rest of the Indian innings there was hardly a period where they looked troubled.
"Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh than flayed a tiring attack before Hardik Pandya's cameo turned the match totally in the defending champion's favour," he added.
Afridi also lamented the fact that the Pakistan batting line-up, which once included the likes of Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq, is woefully lacking in skills and are uble to withstand pressure.
"I feel that our batsmen are short on the skills side and freeze under pressure. The senior lot failed to cope with the increasing run-rate and got out after occupying the crease for long but barren durations.
"There is simply no excuse for a 164-run score on a flat wicket where the opposition maged 319 with consummate ease," he said.
"Pakistan's fielding was very ordiry too, with easy runs given away inside the circle, besides the dropped chances, which made life tougher for the bowlers. The players looked tense and nervous despite the claims to the contrary before the start of the game," he added. IANS