Melbourne: Former Australian captain Ian Chappell feels rookie pacer Mohit Sharma has been a revelation in the ongoing World Cup as he has made a huge difference to the Indian attack, bringing about a turnaround in the side's fortunes after a string of poor shows in the run-up to the showpiece event.
Chappell said India can be counted as one of the favourites to win the World Cup if they continue the form they showed while beating Pakistan and South Africa whom they thrashed by 130 runs here today.
"Indian bowling has been a huge difference in the World Cup as compared to Test series against Australia and the tri-series. Mohit Sharma has played a big part in this transformation, he has been a revelation and suddenly he has made a big difference in Indian bowling," Chappell said.
"Indian bowling was not consistent against Australia in Test series and then in the tri-series. They will bowl well and then they will have bad deliveries. They have now cut down on those bad deliveries. If India can continue bowling like this, they will be one of the favourites to win the World Cup," he told an english news channel.
Former Indian batsman V V S Laxman also praised Mohit for his consistent bowling.
"Mohit has a slower delivery also and he is very consistent. He made his bowling very simple by bowling wicket to wicket consistently and he does not easily give away those loose deliveries. M S Dhoni knows him well and used him in the IPL for Chennai Super Kings," he said.
Talking about Indian fielding against South Africa, Chappell said, "Indian fielding has been poor for a long time whether in catching or ground fielding. But in ground fielding they have improved in recent years. Indian fielding was extraordinary today, especially in ground fielding."
Both Chappell and Laxman criticised South African captain A B de Villiers for his tactics.
"South Africa's game plan for a long time has been choking opposition batsmen of runs so that they commit mistake while trying to do something different. But this approach is all right against small teams but not against good teams like India, you need to take wickets and be more aggressive.
"Whether A B de Villiers will be different from what Graeme Smith did (during his captaincy days), I don't think it will change from what I saw today," said Chappell.
"South Africa have the potential to win the World Cup but I am disappointed with the captaincy of de Villiers. He brought in JP Duminy to bowl as early as ninth over. What kind of message he was sending while specialist bowlers likes Wayne Parnell are there. Some of his field placements were also questionable," said Laxman.