Australia's pace spearhead Josh Hazlewood has defended the team's decision to rest him from the Qantas Tour of South Africa, pointing to the taxing summer ahead.
The Proteas completed a series whitewash in the fifth ODI in Cape Town early on Thursday morning (AEDT), giving them a boost ahead of their tour of Australia for a three-Test series next month.
Hazlewood was flown home early during the limited-overs leg of the tour of Sri Lanka in August after Australia were swept 3-0 in the preceding Test series.
The NSW quick was then rested for the series against the Proteas, along with fellow quick Mitchell Starc, meaning Australia took a depleted five-man pace attack to South Africa consisting of John Hastings (23 ODIs before the tour began), Scott Boland (10 ODIs) as well as uncapped trio Chris Tremain, Joe Mennie and Dan Worrall.
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And while the inexperienced bowling attack struggled in a run-heavy series against the Proteas, Hazlewood said the decision to rest him was the right one given the heavy schedule in the next four months.
"Sri Lanka was a long tour physically and mentally," said Hazlewood, who last played a competitive match on August 28.
"And with a lot of cricket coming up I think the rest was valid."
Australia will play six Tests, eight ODIs and three T20 internationals at home this summer, plus a three-match ODI series in New Zealand and then a four-Test tour of India in February and March.
Hazlewood admitted it was hard watching the series loss in South Africa but he backed the Australians to bounce back when they host the Proteas, with the first of three Tests beginning on November 3 at the WACA Ground in Perth.
"It gives us a lot of motivation," Hazlewood said.
"There's a lot of change to the teams from Test cricket to one-day cricket.
"There will be a few guys there carrying what happened but there will be a lot of fresh faces."
Hazlewood will return to action with the NSW Blues in their Matador One-Day Cup clash with Queensland on Friday.