After India’s 66-run defeat to Australia in the first ODI, plenty of issues have come to light. India’s fielding looked rusty, and the world-class bowling attack looks weak.
You could say it is the result of not playing one-day cricket for nine months, but for the players who are coming off playing the IPL, such a sloppy performance is not a fair reflection of the No. 2 ODI team in the world.
Besides rusty fielding and toothless bowling, the lack of a sixth bowling option caused India’s most damage. However, Hardik Pandya is not allowed to bowl due to injury management. Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir has highlighted the same and said the team dealing with the sixth-bowler problem is not new.
On ESPNCricinfo, Gambhir said, “It is been happening since the last World Cup. If Hardik Pandya is not fit, where is your sixth bowling option?”
“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 are a couple of overs,” Gambhir added.
However, Gambhir feels there is one more all-rounder who can fill the extra bowler spot for India but remains apprehensive of his impact. He also explained how the Australian squad is boasting numerous batting and bowling all-rounders.
“On the other hand, if you see, the Australian side, they have got Moises Henriques, who can give you a couple of overs, Sean Abbott, who’s a bowling all-rounder. They have got Daniel Sams, who can bowl and bat,” Gambhir added further.
“From India’s point of view, if Hardik Pandya is not fit, where is your replacement? It is 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 have got my doubts,” Gambhir said.
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