Mitchell Starc has become the first Australian star to confirm he won't play in this summer's Big Bash League as negotiations loom on future player availability.
This summer shapes as crucial for the competition out of COVID, with Cricket Australia desperate to have as much top-line talent playing as often as possible.
Australia's multi-format stars are expected to be available for a sizeable part of it, with January's one-day series against South Africa set to be cancelled.
But that won't alter Starc's position, who does not see himself featuring any time soon.
The 32-year-old quick last played for the Sydney Sixers in 2014-15, while also forgoing close to $10 million in possible salaries since then.
"I have always enjoyed the BBL when I have played it ... but my approach with all franchise cricket hasn't changed over the last seven years," Starc told AAP in Galle.
"My approach to the IPL, BBL, I have looked at the Australian schedule and wanting to be as fit and well-performed for that as I can.
"And franchise cricket has taken a back seat."
Starc's position comes in the midst of a cluttered international schedule.
Following the current tour in Sri Lanka, Australia have white-ball series against Zimbabwe, New Zealand, India, England and West Indies as well as a home T20 World Cup.
Tests follow against West Indies and South Africa before the BBL window, with a tour of India, away Ashes and 50-over World Cup all highlighting next year's calendar.
"The schedule in the next 18 months is ridiculous," Starc said.
"I will always keep Australian cricket front of mind, and then franchise cricket (second).
"I also like spending time at home and seeing my wife (Alyssa Healy, who is also often away)."
The reluctance of Starc and others could however be challenged in coming years.
There will be a push in the next pay negotiations for players to be contracted to a club and participating when not injured or on Australia duties.
The current Memoriam of Understanding expires midway through 2023, meaning such a mechanism could be in place for the following summer if agreed upon.
It comes amid criticism of the competition's quality, with CA preparing to defend the league in the Federal Court as the Seven Network try to break from their broadcast deal.
As things stand, Usman Khawaja (Brisbane Heat), Mitchell Swepson (Brisbane Heat), Nathan Lyon (Sixers) and Alex Carey (Adelaide Strikers) all have contracts for this summer.
Marnus Labuschagne will likely re-sign with Brisbane and Travis Head has long played for Adelaide.
Steve Smith will also likely play, happy there is a push for clubs to be able to welcome Australian players into squads after being locked out last summer.
Josh Hazlewood played for the Sixers as recent as 2019-20, while Cameron Green skipped last year and Pat Cummins and David Warner have long sat out.
CA are confident the overseas player draft will bring pulling power to the competition, luring their first big fish with Faf du Plessis last week.
Australian Associated Press
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