Former Test skipper Ricky Ponting has said he was shocked by Cricket Australia's decision to dump senior batsman Simon Katich from its list of 25 contracted players.
Ponting said Katich was also within his rights to criticise his treatment by the selectors and Cricket Australia (CA) in comments he made during a press conference last week.
Katich, a 56-Test veteran, said he was stunned to be told last week that he had been cut from Cricket Australia's 25-man list of contracted players for the 2011-12 season, despite being one of the country's most consistent performers.
The 35-year-old opening batsman said the decision was "absolutely ridiculous" and Ponting said Katich's criticism was warranted.
"It's fair to say he didn't hold back in his press conference and rightly so as well," Ponting said on a television sports programme on Thursday.
"To be omitted from the contract list was a great shock to him. It was a shock to me. I was surprised that he wasn't named.
"His performance in the last two or three years has been as good as anybody's in the world."
Asked if he meant his comments to be a criticism of the selectors, Ponting added: "You can make of that whatever you like. I would have liked to have another old bloke around the group with me, yeah," Ponting said.
Ponting and Mike Hussey, both 36, have been retained as CA contracted players and Ponting will play as a batsman only in the Test and one-day sides after giving up the captaincy to his deputy Michael Clarke.
"It puts us 36-year-olds on notice now, Mike Hussey and myself. It's going to make us work that little bit harder," Ponting said.