Kevin Pietersen has been told he must join a new county by next season or he may not be allowed to play for England.
The 30-year-old’s declaration earlier in the year that he would leaving Hampshire this summer has resulted in the county twice refusing to pick him when he has been released to play by England.
England coach Andy Flowers insists he will not be too concerned if Pietersen’s domestic future remains unresolved by the start of the Ashes in November – but says the star batsman will have to be contracted to a new county before next season.
“I think the ECB policy will be that all of our international players must be contracted to a county,” said Flower.
“But I wouldn’t be overly concerned if Kevin hasn’t sorted out his county situation by the time we get under way in Australia.”
England had made Pietersen available for Twenty20 finals day on Saturday but the Royals again chose to leave the batsman out, having also overlooked him a for 40-over game last month.
Flower, however, insists he’s not worried that out-of-form Pietersen won’t be getting any county action ahead of the third Test with Pakistan next Wednesday.
“It doesn’t worry me because this is what we expected,” added Flower.”I was asked a question about whether he would be made available and I said yes he would, although I expected Hampshire to maintain their position that they didn’t want to pick him.
“If we felt very strongly about it and, for instance, there were first-class games that we wanted him to play leading up to a Test series, we would have sat down and spoken at greater length with Hampshire.
“But considering it was only a 40-over game leading up to the Test series and again this is only 20-over cricket this weekend, I don’t think it is worth creating any issue over it.”