India skipper Virat Kohli lamented the lack of a sixth bowling option as India conceded 374 runs, before succumbing to a 66-run defeat to Australia in the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.
"Unfortunately, Hardik is not fit enough to bowl, and we don't have other allround options to pick from either, someone like Stoinis or Maxwell," said Kohli.
Except for Mohammed Shami, none of the bowlers could keep the run rate below six with spinner Yuzvendra Chahal going for 89 runs in 10 overs and picking just one wicket.
India had no one as a back-up bowler to take the load off Chahal had a bad day.
In contrast, for Australia, both Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis could chip in to finish the fifth bowler's quota. Both shared 13 overs. Stoinis could have bowled more but for his injury.
Kohli said that there was no other option for batsmen except to go after the bowling.
"From the batting point of view, we had a chat briefly now. All the batsmen committed to it which is why you saw us playing with intent. I think we gave ourselves the best chance. Hardik's innings was the best example of that. As a batting unit we committed nicely to positive cricket and we are going to do that in the future as well," he said.
Pandya, who made 96 off 76 deliveries, too said that the team missed the sixth bowler.
"It was always going to be difficult without a sixth bowler (with the regular bowlers going for runs). The sixth bowler's role is more to give cushion to someone from among the regular bowlers who is having a bad day. Maybe, we'll have to find someone who has played for India and groom him. Maybe, we should look into Pandya family," said the batsman, who hit seven fours and four sixes in his 90-run innings.