|Press were only expecting a retirement announcement, rather than an attack on selection procedure [GALLO/GETTY]
Australian Test opener Simon Katich launched furious attack on Cricket Australia's selectors on Friday after he was axed from the list of centrally contracted players.
Katich slammed the 'inconsistent' decision of the selectors saying the decision was 'absolutely ridiculous'.
The 35-year-old opening batsman said he would play on for New South Wales but assumed his omission from the list of 25 contracted players, which was announced on Tuesday, marked the end of his international career.
"It didn't come as a total shock on Tuesday, only because I know how they operate, because I've been through this situation before,'' said Katich, who has forced his way back into Test team twice after being axed earlier in his career.
"I'm extremely disappointed and frustrated at the decision, but I also want to make it clear I know I'm not the only player to go through this in the last few years because of inconsistent selection policies,'' he told a news conference in Sydney.
"I think the decision was absolutely ridiculous."
The 56-Test veteran was stunned to discover earlier in the week that he was cut from Cricket Australia's list of contracted players for the 2011-12 season, despite being one of the country's most consistent performers.
Katich called a press conference in Sydney but instead of what was anticipated to be the announcement of his retirement, the batsman said he would continue playing for his New South Wales state side.
Katich, who has averaged 48 in Tests over the last three years and 45 throughout his career since 2001, ripped into what he said were the inconsistent selection policies of chairman Andrew Hilditch and his panel.
"I guess it was particularly disappointing because of the reason that was given," he said.
"To be told that it's because the opening partnership needs to be bedded down for 2013 (Ashes) when I know for a fact that Watto (Shane Watson) and I thoroughly enjoyed opening together and it's been one of the bright spots of our team in the last two years.
"...The [selection] system at the moment is not only just affecting me but it has also affected a number of other players"
"I find it very hard to believe that and as a result the system at the moment is not only just affecting me but it has also affected a number of other players."
Katich, who was once touted as a future Australian captain, didn't leave Cricket Australia out of his criticism.
"There are people above the selectors who make decisions on their (players') future and they ratify the decisions that are made," Katich said.
"I've only had a four-minute conversation with [chief selector] Andrew Hilditch on Tuesday and I haven't heard from anyone from Cricket Australia since and I've been involved with the organisation since 1999.
"I certainly made it clear to him what I felt about the decision. It wasn't a personal nature, but it was just made expressing the fact that I didn't agree with it."
Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland later said Katich was a "fantastic player" who still had a lot to offer Australian cricket as a player, but also gave full backing to the selectors.
"I can understand that he's extremely disappointed at the news he received this week and I really do sympathise with him," Sutherland told reporters in Melbourne.
"(But) I reject any criticism of (the selection panel) in terms of the individual integrity or the collective integrity of the process they go through in making decisions about who the best ... squad is for the future of Australian cricket."
Katich said the inconsistency of the selectors had contributed to the Ashes debacle around the turn of the year, when England won a series in Australia for the first time in 24 years.
"There needs to be more consistency," he said.
"There were so many guys looking over their shoulders about whether they were going to play or not and if you compared it to how England were settled and prepared and there was no surprise that they had a very good campaign."
Katich said he was taking a risk by deciding to play on despite being unwanted at Test level.
"I take the risk by playing on that if I don't perform I will get cut," he said.
"It's not nice to be dropped. I've been through it before, but I'm prepared to back myself and put myself through that stress because that's what I love doing, that's the buzz I get from playing the game."
Some media reports have linked a dressing room bust-up with now Australia captain Michael Clarke with Katich's axing, while former captain Ricky Ponting and middle order batsman Mike Hussey, both 36, had won contracts.
Ex Test opener Michael Slater and former Australian batsman and coach Bob Simpson were among the experts critical of Cricket Australia's decision to ditch Katich. Internet media polls showed the public was overwhelmingly surprised by the selection committee's decision.