New Delhi: Former skipper Sunil Gavaskar believes India were superior to Pakistan in every aspect of the game during their World Cup win in Adelaide but said they need to work more on their bowling and fielding before they take on title-contenders such as Australia and New Zealand.
"Australian have been in tremendous form and the way they played against England in the opening match is an indication as how confident they are, so they are the team to beat and also New Zealand," Gavaskar told a leading english news channel.
"But India again has to look at their bowling. While they have done well, there are areas where they need to tighten up a little bit and if they can do that they will be able to restrict the opposition. But overall it was a satisfying performance today. They were superior to Pakistan in every aspect of the game," he said.
Talking about India's fielding, Gavaskar said: "India has a very good fielding unit when they are not trying to be flamboyant, when they are not trying to just throw at stumps for no rhythm and reasons. So that's an area where they have to look into because it can upset the bowler as at the end of the day it reflects on bowlers' figures. Otherwise, India has a good fielding side."
India under Mahendra Singh Dhoni defeated Pakistan by 76 runs at Adelaide Oval in their World Cup opener to extend their unbeaten record against the arch-rivals to 6-0 in the quadrennial mega-event. Ian Chappell, who had captained Australia between 1971 and 1975, was happy with India's performance but said they still need to prove that they can bowl under-fire against big teams.
"I think India have to prove that they can bowl well under-fire, ie, when they are attacked. I think that is where Australia got to them. Australia have an attacking bowling lineup both in Tests and ODIs. When a batsman gets out, the bowlers need to continue the same line and length and that is where India needs to prove themselves.
"I thought their bowling today was terrific, a big improvement on what we have seen so far in Australia."
The 71-year-old also lavished praise on off-spinner R Ashwin (1/41) and also singled out Virat Kohli for his 107-run innings.
"I think the guy who got them going was off-spinner Ashwin. When he came on and bowled beautiful maidens, that got India going and quick bowlers followed that with good bowling. I don't understand why Ashwin seems to be out of favourite in the Indian side," Chappell said.
"I think he is a terrific bowler. I think why he is bowling so much better this time in Australia is that he has struck off lot of his variations and concentrating so much on his half-spun off-break and one that goes straight and I think he has been terrific today," he said. Talking about batting, Chappell said: "Younis Khan's innings was important but I think Virat Kohli's innings was more important and he was deserving of the Man of the match. Now what I would like India to do is to continue to have him batting at number three.
"I don't like the idea of him coming late after India losing some wicket. He is the guy when he gets going, he can take charge of the innings. It makes it easier for other Indian batsman and puts the opposition back on their heels. So I think Kohli is definitely a number three player."
Former Test batsman VVS Laxman also lauded Ashwin and said it was his spell which changed the momentum in favour of India. "Mohammad Sami started off well but Umesh Yadav was little disappointing with new ball but I agree with Ian. At once stage, even though they lost Younis Khan, Pakistan had a partnership going between Shehzad (Ahmed) and (Haris) Sohail and Ashwin's wicket, it was almost like a Test match wicket, where he (Sohail) was caught by Raina at slip, that spell of Ashwin pulled back the momentum towards Indian team. Ya, Sami took four wickets but I think Ashwin's spell was crucial," he said.
The high-voltage India and Pakistan match had its share of controversy when Dhoni found himself calling for a DRS after his appeal for a caught-behind decision against Umar Akmal was turned down in the 25th over. Asked about the issue, Chappell said: "The DRS decision didn't make much difference to the game but probably I think it was the dropped catch of Virat Kohli by Umar that changed the game.
"That's the risk they took. They strengthened the bowling and played a keeper who is more of a batsman and it cost them a dearly," he added referring to Pakistan's decision to go with Umar as a wicket-keeper instead of Sarfraz Ahmed.