Tasmania could have to wait until the 2023-24 season before the state is set to host another Test match.
Cricket Tasmania chief executive Nick Cummins made the frank admission in Launceston when discussing plans for further cricket use of UTAS Stadium following Sunday’s Big Bash match.
Hobart was stripped of a Test match last year for 2018-19 in favour of Manuka Oval.
Dwindling attendance numbers had contributed to Cricket Australia’s decision to send one of two Sri Lankan Tests to Canberra instead.
Bellerive Oval did not host a Test last summer during the Ashes because of the traditional five-match series.
Cummins initially told The Examiner back in April last year that he anticipated the venue would not hold Tests in 2019-20 either.
But that wait now appears to have been extended for up to a further four seasons.
Cummins addressed the hopes of UTAS Stadium hosting first-class cricket in the future after announcing new practice wickets for nearby Invermay Park from a Cricket Australia infrastructure fund.
“It will definitely increase the opportunity to host first-class cricket,” Cummins said.
“I think Test cricket is still a long way off – it’s a long way off in Tasmania, in general.
“We’re really fighting to get a Test here in the next four of five years even.”
Tasmania’s last two Tests were disastrous financially.
In 2016, interest fell away when South Africa thrashed Australia amid an innings defeat inside only 151 overs which was preceded in 2015 by poor crowds to watch the West Indies capitulate in two and a half days.
Just 5,927, 5,071 and 4,345 attended each of the days.
Cummins ruled out the introduction of new Test nations Afghanistan and Ireland, nor playing minnows Zimbabwe, will ensure Test cricket is brought back to Hobart or even Launceston.
But he was determined to bring red-ball fixtures to Launceston every season once the practice wickets are installed and operational.
“Certainly to have first-class, Futures League and possible [Sheffield] Shield are definitely on the table,” Cummins said.
“My policy since I started is that we are Cricket Tasmania, not Cricket Hobart and that we want top-level cricket played across the state.”