Cricket Australia's hopes of attracting some star power in the inaugural edition of Big Bash in absence of its international players has suffered a blow as former Aussie wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist said his participation in the league is "highly unlikely".
Most of Australia's international players will be unavailable for the league's early seasons, so CA desperately needs marketable cricketers to promote the event.
Gilchrist, who has just returned to Australia from the Indian Premier League after leading Kings XI Punjab to the brink of the play-offs, is not comfortable with the December-January time slot.
"The time of year that it (Big Bash) is on makes it unlikely for me," said Gilchrist.
"One of the main reasons I gave up full-time cricket was because I wanted to spend more time with my family, and that Christmas and New Year period is like gold in that respect.
"I have had various approaches from people that are involved in the teams and I've told them that at this stage it is highly unlikely," he added.
A blistering 106-run knock in just 55 balls in his second last IPL innings against Royal Challengers Bangalore has enhanced his prospects in the Big Bash even more.
"If you had said to me three years ago when I retired that I would still be playing cricket now, I would have said, 'You're kidding'," he told 'The Age'.
"But, obviously, I have been able to do that through the IPL, so it's odd to be even talking about the concept of playing," he said.
With Indian cricketers off bounds because of domestic duties and many other countries engaged in international duels at that time, the Twenty20 league will depend heavily on West Indies imports such as Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo.
The rules for recruiting players will be finalised soon, with the Australian Cricketers Association arguing strongly for free agency and, eventually, a window in the summer schedule for the tournament.