NEW DELHI - Veteran Venkatsai Laxman was given a chance to extend his international career after being named Friday in India's squad for two home Tests against New Zealand. The stylish middle-order batsman, 37, had been under pressure to retain his place after a dismal performance in India's last Test series in Australia early this year.

Laxman managed just 155 runs with one half-century in eight innings in the series, averaging 19.37 which was much below his overall average of 45.97 in 134 matches. He has so far scored 8,781 Test runs with 17 centuries. The national selectors opted for experience at the start of a new home season which will also feature four Tests each against England and Australia.

The series against New Zealand will be India's first since the retirement of accomplished top-order batsman Rahul Dravid earlier this year.

Test squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Ajinkya Rahane, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, Suresh Raina.