Gautam Gambhir has highlighted that the problem of Indian team dealing with the sixth-bowler’s absence is not a new issue. Besides lacklustre fielding and toothless bowling, the lack of a sixth bowling option hurt India most.
Following India’s 66-run defeat to Australia in 1st ODI, plenty of issues have come to light. India’s fielding looked rusty, and the bowling attack appeared weak enough. The team were playing one-day cricket after nine months, but for most players who are coming off playing the IPL in UAE, a sloppy performance such as the one displayed at the Sydney Cricket Ground is not the true reflection of the No. 2 ODI team in the world.
Gautam Gambhir Questions Sixth Bowling Option As Hardik Pandya Not Bowling
With their frontline bowlers looking out of touch, and Hardik Pandya not allowed to bowl due to injury management, the Indian bowlers took a pounding which saw Australia set them a target of 375.
“It’s been happening since what… the last World Cup. If Hardik Pandya is not fit, where is your sixth bowling option?” Gambhir said on ESPNCricinfo.
“Yes, you can talk about putting in Manish Pandey, but again, even if Rohit Sharma comes back into the Playing XI, the problem which you’re facing right now, you will face it then as well because there is no one in the top six who can give you’re a couple of overs.”
Apart from Mohammed Shami who returned with 3/59 in 10 overs, the likes of Navdeep Saini and Yuzvendra Chahal took a pounding conceding more than 8 runs per over.
Gautam Gambhir: Australian Side Have All-rounders Who Can Bat And Bowl
Gautam Gambhir explained how Australia are a stark contrast to India in the same department, their squad boasting numerous batting and bowling all-rounders. With Hardik Pandya injured and not bowling, Gautam Gambhir feels there is one more all-rounder like Vijay Shankar who isn’t part of the squad who is capable of filling the extra bowler spot for India but remains apprehensive of his impact.
“On the other hand, if you see, the Australian side, they’ve got Moises Henriques, who can give you a couple of overs, Sean Abbott, who’s a bowling all-rounder. They’ve got Daniel Sams, who can bowl and bat,” he added.
“From India’s point of view, if Hardik Pandya is not fit, where is your replacement? It’s only Vijay Shankar whom I can think of but does he have the same impact batting at No. 5 or 6. Can he give you 7-8 overs? I’ve got my doubts.”
Australia have got Moises Henriques, Sean Abbott and Daniel Sams who are warming the bench as all-rounders. In contrast, India have Vijay Shankar who hasn’t been included in the limited-overs squad for the Australian tour.