Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick
Andrew Strauss, newly in place as England's director of cricket, has seemingly ended Kevin Pietersen's international career for a second time by ruling out a recall on the grounds of a lack of trust. While Strauss claimed that Pietersen was "not banned", he said the batsman - England's leading run-scorer across all formats - would not be considered for selection during the forthcoming Ashes summer.
Having made a magnificent unbeaten triple-hundred for Surrey on Monday, Pietersen provided further fuel for those demanding he be recalled, saying: "I want my England place and I deserve my England place." But Strauss and the ECB's chief executive, Tom Harrison, met with Pietersen hours later to inform him that there was no way back, despite Colin Graves' remarks that if he scored runs in county cricket the selectors "can't ignore him".
That is what England have chosen to do although, somewhat bafflingly, Strauss revealed that Pietersen had at the same time been offered a role as an advisor in limited-overs cricket - an opportunity Pietersen declined.
It is possible English cricket has now seen the last of its most maverick talent. The intervention by Graves, the ECB's incoming chairman, at the start of March encouraged Pietersen to dream of an audacious comeback and prompted him to negotiate his way out of playing in the IPL in order to state his England case with Surrey.
England's continued indifferent form and changes to the management - notably the departure of the man who oversaw Pietersen's sacking in 2014, Paul Downton - further hinted at the possibility of a lifeline but Strauss' confirmation that the situation remains unchanged looks like ending any hope of reconciliation.
Pietersen's innings at the Kia Oval ended with him unbeaten on 355 - the sixth-highest score in the history of the Championship - just as Strauss was setting out his vision for the future at Lord's. Alec Stewart has confirmed that Pietersen will fly out to appear in the IPL later this week as part of his agreement with Sunrisers Hyderabad and, with further commitments at the Caribbean Premier League already agreed, it is quite possible he has played his last innings in England.
Perhaps this was always the most likely outcome once it became clear that Strauss had been selected as the man to rebuild England after a damaging year of upheaval. Strauss' comments echo those in 2012, ahead of his final Test for England, when Pietersen was dropped due to "underlying issues on trust and respect" after sending text messages to members of the South Africa team.
Speaking at Lord's, Strauss cited a "massive trust issue" between the two as the reason for Pietersen's continued banishment, confirming the batsman was "not part of our plans" for the forthcoming Ashes.
"The first thing to say is now's the time for some really honest and open conversation about Kevin Pietersen," Strauss told Sky Sports. "No one has ever doubted Kevin Pietersen's ability as a player. He has been a phenomenal player for England over a long period of time. His record stacks up to anyone in England cricket, and he should be very proud of that. But over months and years, the trust between himself and the ECB has eroded."
"Because of that, we've told him it's not in the best short-term interests of the side for him to be in the team. I've let him know he's not part of our plans for the future, and I can't give him any guarantees beyond that ... but he's not banned from the side, no one knows what's going to happen in the future."
Harrison, who joined the ECB as chief executive at the start of the year, underscored the point. "We've explained our position and we've been honest about the reasons why," he said. "It's not a universally popular decision but it's a decision that we have to take."
Even before Pietersen responded in his newspaper column, there were early indications that he had not taken the news well. Speaking on BBC 5 Live, Piers Morgan, the former tabloid editor who is a close ally of Pietersen, said the batsman felt he had been "deeply misled" by England. Pietersen gave up the majority of a £200,000 contract with Sunrisers in order to play county cricket and chose to donate his Surrey salary to charity.
"I spoke to Kevin this morning and he's incredibly upset, he believes he's been deeply misled," Morgan said. "He believes he made decisions which were at a huge financial cost to him which has an impact on his livelihood and his family.
"He did it because he was told if he did it and it worked he would be back in the England team. Last night he was told face to face with Andrew Strauss that's not happening. He feels angry, frustrated, misled and I don't know what he's going to do."
Whatever it is, it will not be helping to address England's underperformance in limited-overs cricket. England's winter of disappointment, culminating in their group-stage exit at the World Cup, was the chief reason for Peter Moores' dismissal and Strauss said those failures were behind the attempt to get Pietersen involved again. He also indicated there would be greater separation between the Test and one-day sides in future.
"Firstly there are not many people who know more about one-day cricket than Kevin Pietersen, he's got a lot to offer that conversation," Strauss said. "He's played in T20 competitions all round the world, he knows a lot about one day cricket, and I want to use as many people, as many different viewpoints as possible to formulate the right strategy.
"Maybe part of that would have been the start of rebuilding trust. Maybe that's the starting point, to get involved in that capacity and see how we go. At the moment he doesn't feel that he can take up that position. I understand that. I hope over time he can reconsider."
Strauss' firm stance on Pietersen is his second major decision having accepted the newly created director of cricket role, after the removal of Moores as head coach at the weekend. Strauss will be responsible for appointing a new England coach and he confirmed that Yorkshire's Jason Gillespie is on the shortlist; he will begin approaching candidates on Wednesday.
Strauss said of Moores: "There are some areas of international cricket where he was a little bit exposed, especially around tactics and strategy."
Amid the focus on Pietersen, Strauss gave a few more details about his plans as director of cricket. Alastair Cook's role as Test captain was confirmed until at least the end of the Ashes, with Joe Root taking on the official role of vice-captain; Eoin Morgan is to continue as one-day captain. Strauss also said he would not be donning "a tracksuit" and would leave coaching the side to Moores' replacement.