Cricket Tasmania could be fighting to earn a surprise Test match within two years just as the ACT government plans to shut the state out for a further four years past 2027.
Negotiations have already begun to pencil in a maiden one-off Test match between Australia and Afghanistan.
That has prompted ACT chief minister Andrew Barr to sit down with Cricket Australia officials to secure a deal that brings more international cricket to Canberra over the next eight years.
The current arrangement has culminated with Canberra’s historic first Test earlier this month at Manuka Oval.
International cricket deals are limited to four years by the ICC’s future tours program, but Barr wants a “four plus four” that ensures its existing contract is rolled over.
That could include Canberra’s next possible five-day fixture in 2020-21 involving new Test nation Afghanistan that Cricket Australia had earmarked for Hobart.
“Outside that, we’d be looking at six-Test summers, and it’d be a degree of competition between Canberra and Hobart,” Barr said.
“We did ourselves a great service by the way we supported the inaugural Test.
“We’re really on the front foot in that regard, more than 30,000 attending was nearly double the attendance at the last Test played in Tasmania.”
But Cricket Tasmania chief executive Nick Cummins protested in a not-so-subtle dig at the ACT government.
“We certainly don’t pay for content or expect the government to do so. We have discussions annually with Cricket Australia over the futures tours program,” he said.
“We’re already talking to them about next summer at the moment.
“Certainly we will expect that the Test will be played here in Hobart given that the Sri Lankan Test [this summer] was played in Canberra.
“We have been given no indication that it won’t be any different.”
Cummins said a prior arrangement with Cricket Australia indicated it would be “our turn”. But two sold out days at Manuka Oval has made it a persuasive argument to give the nation’s capital more Tests after Hobart has averaged little more than 5000 per day previously.
“Certainly we would be interested in more Test cricket – our members love Tests and would love to see the Australian team play in Hobart again,” he said.
Cummins had told The Examiner back in December that it would difficult to gain a Test match until 2023-24 should plans remain to host just five Test matches per year instead of a sixth.
But the improvement of Afghan players in the Big Bash this year alone, coupled with the nation reaching last year’s under-19 world cup semi-finals has Cricket Australia now considering an additional Test match soon.
“I know the Afghanistan Test is still tentative at this point, so we certainly haven’t had any conversation about it,” Cummins said.
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