Team director Andy Flower had previously stated that he wanted the touring party finalised before flying to Sri Lanka for the World Twenty20 but, while selection discussions are at an advanced stage, the announcement has been delayed until at least Tuesday.
Reports indicated a call has already been made to go without Pietersen for the four-Test series, but it is understood that the door has not been closed just yet.
Although unlikely given the issues of “trust and mutual respect” that have undermined Pietersen’s relationship with sections of the dressing room, there is a chance the 32-year-old could travel if private negotiations with the England and Wales Cricket Board bear fruit in the coming days.
Pietersen has admitted sending “provocative” messages to friends in the South Africa dressing room, but also harbours grievances of his own and as such was not offered a central contract when the 2012-13 batch were drawn up.
He has not played for England since the second Test against South Africa, missing the series decider against the Proteas, the subsequent limited-overs matches and also the forthcoming T20 tournament.
Should the selectors decide a return in November would be too soon, they have to resolve how best to replace him.
With former captain Andrew Strauss having retired at the end of the South Africa series, England have already lost one experienced campaigner and must think long and hard about the make-up of their top six if they leave Pietersen at home.
With 117 England appearances to his name, albeit only 13 of them in Tests, Ravi Bopara has enough international cricket under his belt to soften the blow of Pietersen’s absence, but he is in chronically bad form.
His awkward medium-pacers may yet see him play in Sri Lanka and, if he can turn his wretched batting around in that tournament, he would go to India.
Eoin Morgan, dropped from the Test side earlier this year after a troubled run of his own, appears certain to make the squad after being awarded one of 10 full central contracts this month.
That leaves Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow as the most likely pick of the younger generation of middle-order batsmen.
England have also been wrestling with the question of who will take Strauss’s place alongside captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order.
Yorkshire’s Joe Root is the obvious long-term bet, but at 21 may be given more time to develop. England may ask Jonathan Trott to open and move Ian Bell to No 3.
Monty Panesar is favourite to continue as second choice spinner to Graeme Swann.