International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat has revealed that a proposal to have a World Test Championship, devised to rescue the longest, oldest and best form of the game from oblivion, is in jeopardy.
Although the schedule has already been agreed for the inaugural tournament in England in 2013, it will almost certainly be postponed for at least four years, The Independent reports.
The paper quoted Lorgat, as saying in Dubai said after a ICC quarterly board meeting that: "It would be unfortunate if the Test Championship is delayed to 2017, but the board needs to balance several objectives."
The ICC has already announced plans to drop the controversial Umpire Decision Review System, saying that now its use in matches will depend on a bilateral agreement with two cricket boards.
Last-ditch attempts are likely to be made to save the WTC but ICC officials privately admit it is unlikely to proceed.
For weeks there had been whispers that there was trouble with ESPN Star Sports, the rights holders to all global cricket events until 2015.
This was reflected in the ICC's terse statement after its meeting.
It said: "The board confirmed their preference to host an ICC Test Championship in 2013 but recognised the significant commercial challenge in trying to replace the Champions Trophy. Without the support of ICC broadcast partner ESPN Star Sports, the financial implications on the members and the development of the game would be significant."