While this might seem like a limitation, Dravid's jovial reference to Kohli as the 'menace' suggests a certain confidence in the team's ability to overcome this obstacle. India has already demonstrated success in their previous their fixtures with this bowling setup.
In fact, the only instance in this World Cup where Kohli bowled was to complete a Pandya over when the latter was injured during the game against Bangladesh.
Dravid's jest quickly transitioned to a more serious tone as he addressed the team's approach. He emphasized that the team had played several games without a sixth bowling option and managed to perform well.
“I mean, obviously, the sixth option is something that Hardik gave us. But you're right as well that we have been playing the last four games without the sixth bowling option,”
“We also played a couple of games in the Australia series before the World Cup without the sixth option. We won two of our games, both in Mohali and in Indore, when we played only with five bowling options in those games as well,”
“So, we have responded really well to that challenge. Yes, of course, we probably won't have that sixth bowling option in these games. But the response of the team and the players has been really good when we have not had it. So, I think we have played enough games without having it. And we seem to have done pretty well,” Dravid explained.
India's response to this challenge has been commendable, and they have demonstrated their ability to adapt to the situation.
One of the significant repercussions of Hardik Pandya's absence is the lack of dependable lower-order batting. Dravid expressed confidence in the abilities of the lower-order batsmen, emphasizing their dedication and hard work.
He also highlighted a specific game against England in Lucknow, where the lower-order batsmen contributed 46 critical runs on a challenging pitch.
“I don't think we are going to think about it too much. I think there's only been one game where we've probably felt the need for the number eight and nine which was a game against England in Lucknow and actually our number eight and nine - after the seventh wicket the next couple of wickets gave us 46 critical runs on a tricky wicket,”
“So, I think we've got to have confidence in our 8, 9, 10, 11. The ones that we have now, I think they are working very hard and they are doing the best that they can. And I don't think the batters really, to be honest, need to think about it or worry about it,” said Dravid.
Dravid's message to the team's top seven batters is to focus on playing good cricket throughout the 50 overs and adapting to the game's demands, as there is enough quality in the top seven to hold their own.
"I think if you play good cricket through the 50 overs and play according to the situation and what the demands of the game are, I think there's enough quality in that top seven to look after itself," he added.">