Ross Taylor will return to the cricket field next month, though a date has yet to be set.
The former New Zealand captain is on an indefinite break from the game, after the decision of Black Caps coach Mike Hesson to install Brendon McCullum as skipper.
Central Districts manager and assistant coach Lance Hamilton has spoken to Taylor and is confident he will appear for the Stags during the domestic Twenty20 competition.
Wellington host Central at the Basin Reserve on Boxing Day and Cricket Wellington chief executive Peter Clinton had hoped Taylor would return to the fray then. But Hamilton said Taylor would not play until January.
"It certainly won't be Boxing Day," Hamilton said.
"We haven't firmed up a date yet, but I'm hoping for early in the new year."
The Stags play a Twenty20 double-header against Canterbury in Nelson on January 1 and 3, and there had been a suggestion Taylor might be available for those games.
Hamilton would neither confirm nor deny that was the case.
"He's not ready yet, so he's just enjoying his break and we're respecting that. We're not putting any pressure on him.
"We just agreed that it won't be before the new year and we'll base our plans on that. But I'm expecting that it will be in the HRV Cup, not after that."
Central's last round-robin match is January 15, with the competition finals scheduled for January 18 and 20.
Taylor has not indicated when he will be available for international selection, but is enthused about the idea of donning the Central colours.
"His words were that he loves coming and playing for the Stags so he's definitely . . . looking forward to coming back and playing with the boys. And we'll certainly welcome him back." Fairfax NZ