Kevin Pietersen's name is not among the list of players the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed on Friday had been given a central contract for the 2012-13 season.
The batsman is currently out of the picture following a dispute over the alleged content of text messages he sent to members of the South Africa squad during the recent Test series, with his future still no clearer despite the retirement of captain Andrew Strauss.
The ECB, who have issued 10 full-time and four incremental contracts, did add a caveat by saying "discussions are ongoing and remain private" with the 32-year-old but, as things stand, he will not be a contracted player in an Ashes year.
If the ECB press ahead therefore with plans to name a squad next Thursday to undertake the four-Test tour of India, under Alastair Cook, time is short for Pietersen's differences with his employers to be settled.
There were no surprises among the nine players awarded contracts alongside Cook, Eoin Morgan the only one not currently a Test regular after his loss of form in the United Arab Emirates last winter.
Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn, currently battling for the position of England's third seamer behind James Anderson and Stuart Broad, are on the list.
ECB have also awarded four incremental contracts - to Jonny Bairstow, who replaced the dropped Pietersen to impressive effect in last month's Lord's Test against South Africa, Ravi Bopara, limited-overs wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter and Durham seamer Graham Onions.
List of England and Wales Cricket Board centrally contracted players for the 2012-13 season.
James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Alastair Cook (Essex), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Eoin Morgan (Middlesex), Matt Prior (Sussex), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire).
Incremental contracts: Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Graham Onions (Durham).