India are the world champions and now Champions Trophy winners, but they will still consider the West Indies a tough side to beat. The West Indies were one of the best teams in the Champions Trophy and were unlucky not to have qualified for the semifinals due to weather issues in their crunch game against South Africa.
The West Indies are now a real force, especially in the shorter format and their winning the World T20 Championship in Sri Lanka was no fluke.
The predictable danger while playing them is the game changers they have. Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard are the two obvious ones but no less dangerous is Marlon Samuels. When you have three batsmen like them, you are praying that it is not a day when one of them will fire on all cylinders.
The grounds here are small and these players hit the ball further than anyone. Plus, the pitches will not allow the ball to grip and move laterally; also spinning pitches in the Caribbean are rare. So, the odds are stacked heavily against you, as Sri Lanka found out.
More than the bats getting heavier, what is making these big hitters so dangerous is that the edges of the bats are getting thicker. With a heavy bat, a batsman is often disadvantaged playing certain shots, but these modern day bats are not so heavy to pick up and wield around. They are just chunkier with the edges starting to resemble the actual face of the bat. Every season the bat edges seem to be putting on more inches. I see the gamekeepers coming up with restrictions on the bats sooner than we all think.
So what this does is, unlike bats with thinner edges, even if the ball is hit from closer to the edge of the bat there is till enough wood behind it to keep the bat steady on impact. Earlier, if the ball was not hit from the middle of the blade, the bat would shake in your hands to rob you of all the power in the shot. It's staggering to see how shots off leading edges are going for a six.