Captain Ricky Ponting has again raked up the 'burnout' issue, saying Shaun Tait's decision to sit out of the game highlighted the mental and physical stress being placed on Australia's Test players.
Ponting explained cricketers were not leading an easy, luxurious life, instead they undergo the rigours of the sport to maintain themselves at the highest level.
"Obviously Taity has been run down for a long period of time. We never saw it. He is just the happiest bloke to have around the change room. It's hit me like a ton of bricks... We're all flabbergasted," he said.
Tait took indefinite break from the demands of top-level cricket after citing mental and physical exhaustion. "A lot of people might think cricket is five-star hotels and living. It is very hard work to maintain that for a long time," he was quoted as saying by 'The Age'.
"You could probably ask Phil Jaques about coming in and not understanding how demanding cricket at the highest level really is. The fact people thought Jaques had the mumps after playing back-to-back Tests was significant. It's no fluke. "You get run down and tired. It's having a body and mind that can deal with it, and it isn't easy," he added. Ponting on, earlier occasions, had said his team playing virtually non-stop cricket and feared burnout.
"All the players want to play as much cricket for Australia as they can, but at the same time don't want to be worn out, fatigued and have their careers cut a little bit shorter than they might have been," Ponting had said.
Ponting also said the criticism would not affect the way he captained Australia but was now aware the public's perception of his team's image was far from the one he'd tried to mould.
"I've been shocked (by the backlash) because it has come from out of the blue," Ponting said. "It's important for me that we're also remembered for doing good things along the way, like helping kids (charities) and the community and to make sure we're doing the right thing by the game. We had an opposition captain question that a few weeks ago and it seemed to set off a chain reaction from people around Australia," he added.