Boycott looms as WI seek momentum
GROS ISLET, St Lucia (CMC):
Opener Leon Johnson is poised to play his first Test in 20 months as West Indies look to further strengthen.
However, the third Test against India is set to bowl off here today amid a threat of boycott and protests by local fans over the sacking of national icon Darren Sammy.
Since the 32-year-old all-rounder - after whom the Test venue is named - announced last Friday that he had been removed as captain and dropped from the West Indies Twenty20 side, both local and regional fans have expressed their outrage at the decision, with many taking to social media to call for a boycott of the game.
Local media here have reported that protests have been planned for outside the stadium - formerly the Beausejour Cricket Ground - while plans for a boycott by groups of fans have also gathered momentum.
The hosts enter the game in a buoyant mood, stemming from their fighting performance on the final day of the second Test at Sabina Park last week, which saw them secure a draw after defeat seemed a certainty.
In an attempt to shore up their suspect batting, the Windies will bring in the left-handed Johnson, who has not played since the third and final Test against South Africa in Cape Town last year January - despite the Guyanese averaging nearly 40 in his four Tests.
Rajendra Chandrika, who was preferred to Johnson over the last 12 months, was dropped from the squad for the upcoming game after averaging 14 from five Tests.
"I think it is important for each batsman to play their game, whether you're a strokeplayer or whether you're somebody who's a lot more patient. You've got to work out what your game plan is and what's best suited for you," said West Indies captain Jason Holder.
"If you look at our middle order, it is a bit more free-spirited in terms of stroke-play and our top order is a little more conservative, especially at the beginning, but as they spend some time [at the crease], they tend to flourish.
"If you look back at the last two Test matches, the problem is that the top order hasn't been getting in. They just need to work a little harder on getting in. I think once they get in - the likes of (Darren) Bravo, the likes of Kraigg Brathwaite, the likes of Marlon Samuels - we all know what they can do once they get a start.
"So it's about them getting a start, get a sweat, get themselves going and carrying on from there."
West Indies will be hoping their batsmen can continue what was started in the last Test when Roston Chase struck his maiden Test century and Holder, wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich and Jermaine Blackwood all got half-centuries, as the side amassed 388 for six in their second innings.
India lead the series 1-0 following their innings-and-92-run victory in the opening Test in Antigua a fortnight ago.