London: Kevin Pietersen missed out on being awarded a central contract by England on Friday, leaving his international future in the balance.
The batsman was dropped by England after sending text messages to South Africa players that were apparently critical of teammates during the recent test series against the country of his birth.
Pietersen has since publicly apologized and pledged his future to the national team but, despite holding talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board, he wasn't one of 10 players given central contracts for the 2013 season, which includes home-and-away Ashes series against Australia.
"In respect to Kevin Pietersen, discussions are ongoing and they remain private," the ECB said in a statement.
Central contracts can be awarded at any time, but Pietersen is now unlikely to go on the tour to India starting next month.
That would leave England's batting lineup even more inexperienced after the recent retirement of test captain Andrew Strauss, who was reportedly the target of Pietersen's texts.
Pietersen is seen as a divisive influence in the dressing room, and England could be preparing to go forward without a player who can be among the most destructive in the world on his day. He averages 34.76 in Twenty20 matches and 49.48 in tests.
Only four batsmen — Ian Bell, new test captain Alastair Cook, Eoin Morgan and Jonathan Trott — received central contracts, with Morgan currently out of the test team. Batsmen Jonny Bairstow and Ravi Bopara were awarded incremental contracts, given to players who feature in a pre-determined amount of matches over a year.
"Contracts are ongoing recognition for those players who have regularly been selected for England and have performed consistently, as well as players who we feel could play an important role for England over the next 12 months," national selector Geoff Miller said.