England have dropped Andrew Strauss from their Test squad just a month after awarding the Middlesex opener a year-long central contract.
Strauss has endured a run of poor form in international cricket
The left-hander is the most notable omission from the 15-man squad to play three Tests in Sri Lanka in December.
But there is no fairytale return for Mark Ramprakash, 38, with Owais Shah and Ravi Bopara both named.
Steve Harmison will be added to the squad assuming he can prove his fitness in domestic cricket in South Africa.
Strauss, 30, made a blazing entry into international cricket in the summer of 2004 and went on to score two centuries in the 2005 Ashes success.
But since then his form has gradually tailed away and he has not played any one-day internationals under coach Peter Moores.
He was the England captain for a significant home Test series success against Pakistan in 2006 and also led his country in 13 one-day internationals.
Ramprakash was considered at length, and it was a close call... He was extremely disappointed
Chairman of selectors
Chairman of selectors David Graveney said: "Andrew hasn't performed to the level he can do in terms of play. He's extremely disappointed, understandably, and it would be strange if he wasn't.
"But he's a fighter and we believe he will come back into the frame very quickly.
"The selection of the seven batsmen gives us the very best opportunity to counter the obvious threats that Sri Lanka will present."
Strauss may now be added to the development squad in India, a pool of reserve players who could step in if there are injury concerns.
Graveney said: "I've suggested to him that we wait a couple of days then sit down and work out the best plan for him in terms of being on stand-by for Sri Lanka and also to get in the right situation to be considered for New Zealand.
"There are technical issues that he will sort out with Peter Moores. I'm confident he will be in the mix to go to New Zealand [in late January]."
Graveney said that Ramprakash had been "considered at length" before being discarded.
"It was a close call. He was extremely disappointed but these are the calls that have to be made.
"His exclusion warranted an explanation which we gave to him last night."
As predicted by BBC Sport on Thursday, Matt Prior has been confirmed as the main wicket-keeper for the tour, but back-up will come from Phil Mustard.
"Phil is familiar with the conditions and will be ideally placed to deputize for Matt should the situation arise," said Graveney.
Captain Michael Vaughan will open the batting with Alastair Cook.
Graveney said of Shah, who has played two Tests, and the uncapped Bopara: "They are both fine players of spin-bowling.
"Their performances for the one-day side recently have demonstrated they have the temperament required to succeed at the highest level."
Graeme Swann has been rewarded for his fine displays in the Sri Lanka one-day series with a spot in the Test party, while Stuart Broad is the fourth uncapped player to be selected.
England arrive in Sri Lanka on 15 November. They play two three-day warm-up matches before the first of three Tests starts on 1 December.
England squad: Michael Vaughan (Yorkshire, captain), James Anderson (Lancashire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Paul Collingwood (Durham), Alastair Cook (Essex), Matthew Hoggard (Yorkshire), Phil Mustard (Durham), Monty Panesar (Northamptonshire), Kevin Pietersen (Hampshire), Matt Prior (Sussex), Owais Shah (Middlesex), Ryan Sidebottom (Nottinghamshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire).