LONDON - Kevin Pietersen was on Wednesday handed a berth in England's provisional 30-man squad for the ICC World Twenty20, which begins in Bangladesh in March. The 33-year-old batsman's international future has been the subject of speculation since England's humiliating 5-0 loss to Australia in the Ashes, with British media reports suggesting his place was at risk.

However, while he has been called up for the World Twenty20, he is not guaranteed to play in the tournament as the squad will be cut in half following the forthcoming three-match Twenty20 series against Australia. England limited overs coach Ashley Giles dismissed suggestions that Pietersen's presence in the squad could prove problematic, describing him as a "million-pound" asset.

Asked if he had discussed leaving Pietersen out of the squad with team director Andy Flower, Giles replied: "No. There was no discussion about leaving Kevin out. "He's another million-pound asset at least. He might be worth a bit more than that. He's a fantastic player and he's shown that in T20 cricket. Kev has been a fantastic player for England for many years."

Pietersen has been rested for the Twenty20 series against Australia, but he took to Twitter last week to declare his "strong desire" to remain an England player. Flower was forced to deny media reports that he had given the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) an ultimatum about Pietersen's place in the squad, describing the rumours as "totally inaccurate". Test captain Alastair Cook, meanwhile, said that England would make no major decisions about resculpting the squad before they return home from Australia.

Giles revealed on Wednesday that the final composition of the World Twenty20 squad will be announced before England leave Australia in early February. Steven Finn was included in the squad despite being allowed to leave Australia early to work on technical aspects of his game. The Middlesex fast bowler was the only player in England's initial 17-man Ashes squad not to play in the Test series and he has not played a game since. "At the moment Steven needs a bit of space," Giles said.

Provisional England squad: Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Ravi Bopara, Scott Borthwick, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Stuart Broad (capt), Jos Buttler (wkt), Michael Carberry, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Craig Kieswetter (wkt), Michael Lumb, Eoin Morgan, Graham Onions, Steven Parry, Samit Patel, Kevin Pietersen, Boyd Rankin, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, James Tredwell, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Luke Wright.