Melbourne:Australia skipper Ricky Ponting has responded to Steve Waugh's criticism that he was opening himself to "question marks" by not playing the next two ODIs against New Zealand, saying he was keen to take part but was rested by the selectors.
"My absolute priority is to the Australian cricket team. I wanted to play on through the coming week and continue to lead the team in the series against New Zealand. However, the decision was made by the national selection panel as part of their plan to rest all players at appropriate times during this year," said Ponting.
"I have reluctantly accepted their decision and will be eagerly awaiting my return to the team," he said.
Waugh had earlier questioned Ponting's commitment to the team as the latter will not play in the next two matches with Australia already down 0-1 in the five-match series.
"Is he mentally and physically fatigued? Is he better off having a couple of games (out)? Will he come back fresher and stronger for the team?
"I really don't know because I think as a captain I didn't rest, so we didn't really throw that scenario up," Waugh was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press.