"We will spare no efforts to get the big players," a source close to Zee Telefilms told AFP a day after India's largest listed media company unveiled a US$23-million plan for the rebel series.
"We have already touched base with a few players and are in the process of contacting others. Don't be surprised if guys like (West Indian captain) Brian Lara play for us."
The Calcutta-based Telegraph newspaper said retiring Australian greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath had been approached for the series alongside team-mates Justin Langer and Michael Slater.
No Indian cricketer, past or present, has been linked to the series so far.
Zee Telefilms said on Tuesday that six teams, each featuring four international players, two Indian stars and eight upcoming cricketers, will take part in Twenty-20 matches later this year.
Zee Network chief Subhash Chandra, who announced the series, declined to name the players he had signed up for what is being regarded as a direct challenge to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The Indian Cricket League, as the series is called, will be expanded to one-day cricket later, said Chandra.
The proposed league, which carries a winner's purse of one million dollars, is reminiscent of the late Australian TV czar Packer's World Cricket Series that took on the establishment in 1977.
Packer roped in the world's top players for the rebel series after being denied official TV rights by the Australian Cricket Board for matches played in the country.
Similarly, Zee Telefilms was rebuffed by the BCCI in 2004 despite being the highest bidder of 308 million dollars for Indian rights for a four-year period.
The BCCI cancelled Zee's contract after rival ESPN-Star, a joint subsidiary of Disney and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, challenged the bidding process in court.
Chandra, however, denied he was looking for a confrontation with the BCCI.
"I see no reason why the BCCI should object," he told reporters. "We have sought the BCCI's permission to go ahead with the league.
"It is not in conflict with the BCCI but would rather complement its efforts to unearth a pool of talented youngsters."
But asked if he will still go ahead with the series if the BCCI objected, Chandra said: "The Indian Cricket League is a reality, it will be held."
The BCCI, already reeling under the national's team's first round exit from the World Cup, was clearly not amused by Chandra's project.
"If he (Chandra) is planning a local tournament, he can't use our sports facilities without our permission," BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi said.
"And if he is roping in international players, that requires the sanction of BCCI and the International Cricket Council.
"The BCCI does not give private parties permission to do anything like this."
BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah confirmed a proposal had been received from Chandra which will be discussed when the board meets in Mumbai on Friday and Saturday to take stock of the World Cup debacle.