Rajasthan Royals head coach Andrew McDonald stated that skipper Steven Smith will be available for the franchise’s first match of IPL 2020 against Chennai Super Kings tomorrow. Smith suffered a blow to the head during a practice session and was out for the ODI series against England earlier this month.
In a press release by Rajasthan Royals, McDonald said, “Fantastic news that Steve (Smith) is available. It’s fantastic especially on the back of some setbacks back in the UK. It is obviously great to have your skipper available for the first game, as I have said before we are in really good hands. 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.”
McDonald also underlined the depth of his squad, despite not having the services of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes. Buttler has arrived with his family from the UK and will be on an extended quarantine period. Stokes is still in New Zealand with his family, with the franchise awaiting confirmation about the England allrounders’ participation.
“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,” he said. “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 and really looking forward to what our guys can bring to the table and we’re really excited about what the journey presents.”
Smith, who set foot in the UAE on the 17th of September, has been closely monitored by the Royals’ support staff, in consultation with the medical team of Cricket Australia.
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The man himself said, “Yesterday I did a bit of zig-zag running, which is part of the protocols to pass to get back to play, and today (Monday) I’ll have a hit in the nets. Hopefully, (I will) pull up well from the hit and be good to play tomorrow.
“The guys have been here for a month now and from all reports, the training’s been magnificent. It’s been good to catch up with both the old and the new Royals. We’re in a good place and have got a really good squad this year, really strong and we’re ready to get going.”