The England and Wales Cricket Board knows the risk it is taking by omitting such a proven match-winner and the pressure it is piling on the young batsmen who are going to India, but it still decided it was not prepared to take Pietersen.
Pietersen's international record
v Australia (Lord's), 21 July 2005
88 matches, 151 innings, 7,076 runs, highest score 227, average 49.48, 27 fifties, 21 centuries
One-day international debut:
v Zimbabwe (Harare), 28 November 2004
127 matches, 116 innings, 4,184 runs, highest score 130, average 41.84, 23 fifties, nine centuries
T20 international debut:
v Australia (Southampton), 15 June 2005
T20 international record:
36 matches, 36 innings, 1,176 runs, highest score 79, average 37.93, seven fifties
I think England have told him to go away and think about things, that they need to see actions speaking louder than words.
If he wants to fully commit himself to England, he needs to show that through his actions this winter. He will have to cut short his Indian Premier League season, come back and score runs in county cricket at the start of the season and make himself available for
the New Zealand Tests
in May and
the Ashes series
The board has taken the view that Pietersen has put his own interests ahead of those of the team this summer and is telling him to go away and show them how much he wants to play for England. There is hope that, in the long term, he can be rehabilitated into the England side, but that is not going to be for a while.
It will be interesting to see how Pietersen reacts to this news. He was on the same flight as me out to Sri Lanka, where he will be working as a television pundit, and told me he was feeling "as good as gold", but he has a big decision to make.
He insists there are problems in the dressing-room, that
he's not happy with people making fun of him
and thinks he's been let down by team-mates, but I think that is just a smokescreen for the bigger issue of where he wants to play his cricket and make his money.
Pietersen issues unresolved - national selector Geoff Miller
Now 32, he is no longer a contracted England player so he may well decide to stick two fingers up at the board and say: "That's it. I'm going to become a freelance Twenty20 cricketer, going around the world and making lots of money. Frankly, I don't want to play for you lot any more."
It's all a far cry from this time 12 months ago, when a seemingly close-knit and polished England side were rising to the number one spot in the world rankings. But such is the nature of sport and often successful dressing-rooms can be harder to manage than unsuccessful ones.
In winning teams, a little bit of complacency can come in and cliques develop. In unsuccessful teams, you are trying to dig yourself out of holes together and there is a one-for-all, all-for-one mentality.
England know it will be very difficult to go to India without their best batsman. With Andrew Strauss now retired and Ian Bell potentially flying home during the second Test for the birth of his first child, the batting line-up is desperately short of Test experience.
But it also presents a great opportunity for players like Joe Root and Nick Compton to establish themselves as Test players for years to come.
Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport's Sam Sheringham
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