Rajasthan Royals will be breathing a sigh of relief after head coach Andrew McDonald confirmed the availability of skipper Steve Smith for their opening game of the season against CSK. RR will miss two key players Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler heading into their first game against MS Dhoni’s men. While Stokes is yet to join the squad in the UAE, Buttler is in his mandatory quarantine period.
“Fantastic news that Steve is available. It’s fantastic especially on the back of some setbacks back in the UK. It’s great to have your skipper available for the first game,” RR head coach Andrew McDonald said on the eve of the game to the reporters.
Steve Smith was on the sidelines of the ODI series against England. He was hit on the head before the first ODI. He then passed the second concussion test for the second game, but coach Justin Langer said that they will not risk Smith’s health by making him play in the series.
McDonald happy to have Steve Smith in Rajasthan squad
The Australia coach further said that though Smith passed the two tests, he looked unwell, and thus there was no point in taking a risk with his health. Even without Smith, Australia won the three-match series 2-1.
Steve Smith reached Dubai on September 17 and had rest for the first couple of days. “I’ve been in Dubai for a couple of days now with some good rest and then got into a bit of running. Yesterday I did a bit of zig-zag running, which is part of the protocols to pass to get back to play and today I’ll have a hit in the nets. Hopefully, pull up well from the hit and be good to play tomorrow,” Smith said.
Meanwhile, the RR coach said that he was happy with the team’s preparations especially coming on the back of a long layoff and out of match-practice.
“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” McDonald said.
The Royals coach said that Chennai Super Kings is coming into this game with an advantage and thus they as a team have got their work cut out.
“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,” concluded the Royals coach.
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