With in-form Jos Butler set to miss the opening game for Rajasthan Royals and the uncertainty with respect to Ben Stokes' participation, RR head coach Andrew McDonald was exulted after Steve Smith's availability was confirmed.
McDonald said, "It's obviously great to have your skipper available for the first game. In terms of the rest of the squad, we couldn't be happier with their preparation."
He also spoke about Smith being on the sidelines after being hit on the head in practice one day before the first ODI against England.
It was reported that the RR skipper passed the concussion test, in fact, each test before each game yet he was kept out by the management as a 'precautionary measure.'
Smith has arrived in Dubai and has been instructed to take rest to be fully fit to go in RR's IPL opener.
When asked about his experiences, Smith said, "After taking rest, I got a bit into running. Yesterday I did a bit of zig-zag running, which is a part of the protocols to pass to get back to play and today I'll have a hit in the nets."
However, RR head coach McDonald accepted that MSD's team will have an edge in the game as they have already featured in a game.
But if given a legitimate thought, RR may have a bigger advantage as they have had several training sessions at Sharjah, the venue for the game.
McDonald also stated that the batsmen practiced on the Sharjah pitches and had a positive outlook regarding the surfaces.
However, as far as Dubai and Abu Dhabi are concerned, things have not turned out great for the batsmen but McDonald claimed that Sharjah's experience will be very varied compared to the previous two stadiums.
The game is set to be played on 22 September and only time will tell if RR and CSK also have a game that goes down till the wire.
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