Rajasthan Royals head coach Andrew McDonald has announced that RR skipper Steve Smith will be available for the first game against CSK on Tuesday. He added that the team is happy with their preparation and was looking forward to their opening game to test their skills against CSK.
With Jos Buttler out of their season opener and uncertainty surrounding Ben Stokes's participation, the RR team was looking quite weak on paper, but they will be relieved going into the match against CSK as their skipper, Steve Smith is available to play in the match.
In his last series against England, Smith was on the bench after being hit on the head in practice one day before the first fixture. Though Smith passed every concussion test he took, the team management kept him out, citing precautionary measures. This had caused questions his availability for the first few matches, but now the Australian has been cleared to play. Head coach Andre McDonald announced that Smith is available for the first match and insisted that the team is looking forward to taking on CSK in the first match.
"Fantastic news that Steve is available. It's fantastic especially on the back of some setbacks back in the UK. It's obviously great to have your skipper available for the first game," RR head coach Andrew McDonald said as quoted by Cricbuzz.
"In terms of the rest of the squad, we couldn't be happier with their preparation. We've got what we needed, having been here nice and early to get our preparation going on the back of the long lay-off. We have got the bases covered and have some really good depth in the squad and really looking forward to seeing what it looks like in a real competitive match against CSK.
McDonald reckoned that CSK has a slight advantage owing to the fact they've already played a game, however, RR will have the advantage of training in the venue of the match, Sharjah.
"They had a fantastic first game, they're one game into the tournament which is a slight advantage when you come out against the team that's already played and performed. So, we'll definitely have our work cut out," he added.
"We've trained at Sharjah a couple of times. Most of our players have got a really good feel for the surface. We've had some net practice in the middle which is always a positive rather than just nets out at the back. The guys have been able to feel what it's like batting at the centre and have had plenty of fielding down there, so they are quite familiar with the stadium.”