Top players likely to skip ODI series against Kiwis

New Delhi: Some of India`s top cricketers are likely to miss the ODI series against New Zealand next month with the Cricket Board planning to send them to South Africa to prepare for the Test series there.

India has never won a Test series in South Africa yet and the BCCI is keen to send the senior cricketers well before the start of the rubber to get fully acclimatised to the conditions.

"We are planning to send the key Test players to South Africa early to prepare for the series. The conditions in South Africa are quite different and we want to give our players enough time to come to terms with the conditions" a BCCI source said.

New Zealand are scheduled to play three Tests and five one-dayers in India from November 4 to December 10. But with the BCCI drawing up this plan, many of the top players may skip the ODIs.

Batting icon Sachin Tendulkar, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh are likely to be in the batch which will leave for South Africa early.

India are scheduled to play three Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match during the tour of South Africa beginning December 16.