Vijay Shankar doesn't have same impact batting at 5 or 6 as Hardik Pandya: Gautam Gambhir

Vijay Shankar doesn’t have same impact batting at 5 or 6 as Hardik Pandya: Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir questioned India on their sixth bowling option if Hardik isn't in the best of fitness now.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir (Photo credit should read MANPREET ROMANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir feels the Men in Blue will keep facing the problem of imbalance till they find a suitable replacement for a half-fit Hardik Pandya. Gambhir also said that Vijay Shankar might be an option but is doubtful of his impact while batting at crucial number five or six position for Team India.

India are in a bother of spot due to the lack of sixth bowling option as Hardik Pandya is not bowling due to his back issue. The all rounder made his much-anticipated return to high-profile cricket through IPL 2020 but didn’t bowl at all in the tournament while playing for Mumbai Indians. He didn’t bowl against Australia in the first ODI either as India suffered a crushing loss.

The Men in Blue were in a desperate need of the sixth bowling option as their main bowlers were taken to the cleaners. Australia piled up 374 for 6 with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and others having an off day. And Gambhir believes the problem will continue for Team India till they find a suitable replacement for Pandya.

“Big time and this has been happening what — since the last World Cup. If Hardik is not fit (to bowl), where is your sixth bowling option,” Gambhir told ESPNcricinfo when asked if there is a problem of balance in the team.

“It’s only Vijay Shankar that I can think of but does he have the same impact batting at No 5 or 6. Can he give you seven or 8 overs, I have my doubts,” he added

Team to face same problem even if Rohit returns: Gautam Gambhir

India have also been weakened by the absence of their batting mainstay Rohit Sharma. The opener is currently at the National Cricket Academy for his rehab and is expected to join the team later for the Test series. However, Gautam Gambhir said that even if Rohit Sharma as well as Manish Pandey are included in the playing eleven, India will face the problem.

“You can talk (about) putting in Manish Pandey, even if and when Rohit Sharma comes back in the XI, the problem you are facing now you will be facing then. There is no one in the top six who can actually give you a coupe of overs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pandya finally resumed his bowling on Sunday during the second ODI as India once again desperately searched for other bowling options. The allrounder bowled four overs, conceded 24 runs while taking the big wicket of Steve Smith.