Citing Q2 growth of 7.6 per cent in FY24, the Union finance minister said the country had the most significant growth making it the fastest-growing economy.
Newly-crowned Asia Cup champions India will take on Australia in the first of the three-match ODI series in Mohali on Friday, marking the final dress rehearsal before the ICC World Cup, starting October 5.
The absence of key players in regular skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav from the first two matches will give the team management to assess the bench strength in the build up to the quadrennial showpiece event.
Star wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul, who returned to action in the latter half of the Asia Cup has been handed the captaincy role for the first couple of games. However, all eyes will be on the Mumbai duo of Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer, besides the return of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who was a surprise pick in the squad.
Suryakumar Yadav, who has cemented his place in the T20I side with some match-winning knocks, has however, failed to translate his performances in the ODI format, with the 33-year-old’s average of less than 25 in 27 outings, leading experts to question his inclusion in place of young Mumbai all-rounder Tilak Verma.
Shreyas, 28, suffered a back strain after returning to action from a long injury lay-off, leading to his forced absence after playing a couple of games in the Asia Cup first round. In the absence of Virat, the right-hander will be expected to take the No.3 spot while Ishan Kishan could partner home boy Shubman Gill at the top.
In red-hot form, Gill will be keen to perform in his very first outing in front of a home crowd at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.
In the bowling attack, the quadriceps injury to Axar Patel has opened the doors for the 37-year-old Ravichandran Ashwin, and given him hopes of a late inclusion in the World Cup squad.
Ashwin, who was out of contention for the World Cup a few weeks back, has suddenly found himself in the mix and despite playing his last ODI in January 2022, the captain has backed his experience while justifying his inclusion for the Australia series.
Back to the PCA, where he captained the Punjab Kings for a couple of IPL seasons, the Tamil Nadu off-spinner will fancy his chances in familiar territory, and look to get back to his best, given the bright chances of featuring in his third and probably last World Cup. In the absence of Pandya and Kuldeep, Ashwin and fellow state-mate Washington Sundar will have a very good opportunity to present their cases for inclusion in the World Cup team.
On the other hand, Australia will look to bounce back from the 2-3 loss to South Africa and make full use of the conditions before playing the high-octane World Cup match against India on October 8. The return of captain Pat Cummins and Steven Smith from injury lay-offs will bolster the team while it remains to be seen whether Glenn Maxwell, expected to arrive on Friday, is played in the next two games. Pacer Mitchell Starc, returning from a groin injury, is also unavailable for the first game.
Australia will also be hurt by the absence of Travis Head, who fractured his hand, and in his absence young opener Matt Short, called in as a replacement, will look to make his presence felt against the Indians.
India: KL Rahul (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja (Vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna.
Australia: Pat Cummins (Captain), Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Adam Zampa, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith, David Warner, Josh Hazlewood, Spencer Johnson, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanvir Sangha, Matt Short