Melbourne: With some of the top cricketers, including those from India missing out on the inaugural edition, Big Bash League, Australia's Indian Premier League-style Twenty20 event, hopes to emulate the popularity of IPL when it begins on Friday.

The revamped league, which kicks off with the opening encounter between Sydney Sixers and Brisbane Heat on December 16, will have eight different franchisee teams across Australia playing for the top honours.

While none of the Indian players will be seen in action, the league has attracted cricketers from the West Indies, England, South Africa, New Zealand and Pakistan besides Australia.

With the inclusion of some big-hitters like Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle and Shahid Afridi, the tournament, though, vouches not to lose anything on the excitement front.

Cricket Australia has shown great support in promoting the tournament with the Board even withdrawing Test hopeful Ed Cowan from the Chairman's XI team to face India in Canberra from tomorrow, leaving him free to play for the tournament opener.

All the matches of the league will be telecast live by Star Cricket.