IPL 2020: Steve Smith declared fit for opener against Chennai Super Kings

A big relief for Rajasthan Royals as Steve Smith has been confirmed fit for the opener against Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday at Sharjah Stadium. The Australian batsman’s availability means he will, for the first time ever captain Rajasthan Royals, right from the start of a season. “Yeah, obviously I missed the last three one-dayers in England. 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,” he said.

Coming from a win against Mumbai Indians, CSK will be playing their second match tomorrow. Smith appreciated his opponent for the win and said: “Chennai and Mumbai both have been two really strong teams for a long time now. We obviously watched a bit of the game the other night, the Super Kings played really well to get over the line in the end. Hopefully, we can put on a really good show and get our campaign off to a good start”.

RR vs RCB IPL 2020 IPL LIVE: No Jos Butler and Ben Stokes

The team has all its bases covered, with plenty of options to go with depending on the nature of the surface on the day. However, they would be missing Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes for the opening match. Buttler will miss the opening game of the IPL as he remains in quarantine, having arrived separately with his family. Stokes, who is currently in New Zealand with his family, will also remain unavailable for the first game of the Dream11 IPL.

RR vs RCB IPL 2020 LIVE: Rajasthan Royal’s coach Andrew McDonald’s shares thoughts on teams preparations

The Australian coach express is joy over the availability of Smith for the first match. He believes that the team is in good shape and it will be a competitive match against CSK. “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 as I’ve 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,” he said.

“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. 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,” he added.

Sharing his views on the venue, McDonald said that Rajasthan had a couple of training sessions there. It will be a high scoring ground, he says, which will give a tough time to the bowlers.

“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. Clearly a different surface to Dubai or Abu Dhabi in terms of runs and the size of the venue so it’ll create some difficult challenges there for the bowling unit so no question there being a high-scoring ground. But we feel the team will put out their best show to be able to combat what CSK will throw at us”.