Dravid, Laxman leave for New Zealand

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/d/draviddhaka_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Middle-order mainstays Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman left for New Zealand from Mumbai on Monday for the three-match Test series starting March 18.

Updated: March 02, 2009 09:35 IST
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Middle-order mainstays Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, along with four other members of India's Test squad, left for New Zealand from Mumbai on Monday for the three-match Test series starting March 18.

The duo, along with Amit Mishra, L Balaji, Dhawal Kulkarni and M Vijay, would be reaching Auckland on Tuesday morning.

The players are reaching well ahead of the commencement of the series to acclimatize with the conditions by turning out for domestic teams of New Zealand in the state championship.

The inclusion of these players into New Zealand's domestic teams has been approved by New Zealand Cricket, the New Zealand Players Association and the six Major Associations.

Dravid will play for Canterbury Wizards against the Central Stags at Mainpower Oval, Rangiora, from March 6 to 9, while leg spinner Mishra will turn out for the Stags in the same game.

Laxman would appear for Otago Volts against Wellington Firebirds at University Oval, Dunedin, in the same round while right-arm medium pacer Balaji would play for the Firebirds in that game.

In the following round, from March 13 to 16, the tie between the Stags and Firebirds at McLean Park, Napier would feature opening batsman Vijay and right-arm medium pacer Kulkarni. It is yet to be decided which sides they would be representing in this match.

The first Test will be held at Seddon Park, Hamilton from March 18-22 while the second and third Tests are scheduled at Mclean Park, Napier (March 26-30) and Basin Reserve, Wellington (April 3-7).

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