The England selectors will finally meet on Tuesday to pick the squad for the four-Test tour of India and are expected to strike a further blow to Kevin Pietersen's hopes of re-establishing himself in the team.
Pietersen's omission from the Surrey squad that travelled to Lancashire for their last County Championship match of the season, which starts at Aigburth on Tuesday, had led to a fresh round of speculation that he may finally hold the discussions with England's new Test captain, Alastair Cook, which are said to be a necessary first step before a reintroduction to the dressing room can even be considered - especially when Essex confirmed that Cook will not be playing in their game against Yorkshire in Chelmsford.
But there will be no time for the pair to break bread before the national selector, Geoff Miller, meets James Whitaker and Ashley Giles in Manchester to finalise the squad and it is highly unlikely that Pietersen will even be on the list of players they discuss.
Resigned to snub?
So with the tour party due to be announced on Thursday, possibly when the team director, Andy Flower, is in the air heading for England's defence of the World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka, Pietersen must surely be resigned to another snub - which, whether by accident or design, will put his long-term commitment to his adopted country to an even stiffer test.
He was dropped from the third Test against South Africa - having scored a brilliant century in the second - after refusing to respond to reports that he had been critical of Andrew Strauss in texts sent to friends in the opposition team. He was then omitted from the World Twenty20 squad, despite rescinding his retirement from one-day international cricket, and also stripped of his central contract.
Omission from the Test series in India would carry the lucrative consolation of allowing him to play for the Delhi Daredevils during the Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa. But having missed out on a central contract, Pietersen would then be left unemployed until at least the new year, when England's ODI series in India would offer the next chance of a comeback.