India lost the first ODI against Australia by 66 runs in Sydney on Friday.
Gambhir feels India is lacking a 6th bowler in the team with Hardik not being able to bowl.
The Men in Blue suffered a major setback in their bid to regain glory in Australia as they lost to the hosts by 66 runs in the first ODI at the SCG on Friday.
Virat Kohli’s Team India were given a target of 375 to chase in 50 overs after the Aussie skipper Aaron Finch and Steve Smith scored a ton each, guiding their side to a mammoth total of 374/6. Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya scored fighting half-centuries, but it was not enough to take India home.
Besides lacklustre fielding and fearsome bowling, the lack of a sixth bowling option caused India the most damage. Speaking in a video chat on EspnCricinfo, former India international Gautam Gambhir said the problem of the team dealing with the sixth-bowler conundrum is not new.
“It’s been happening since what… 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’re a couple of overs,” Gambhir said.
With Pandya not 100 per cent fit for bowling, Gambhir feels there is only Vijay Shankar who can fill the extra bowler spot in Team India but remains apprehensive of his impact at No. 5 or 6.
“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,” the 39-year-old added.