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Risk of burnout for players: Warner

Australia's stand-in T20 captain believes players would benefit from larger gaps of down time as they switch between formats

Having conceded he was mentally drained during the ODI series against England last month, David Warner says the onus is on Cricket Australia and the country's leading cricketers to better manage player workloads and the relentless international schedule.

Warner has agreed with skipper Steve Smith that Australia's best players suffered a mental letdown following their Ashes triumph and he believes the injection of fresh players for the current T20 tri-series has set an example of how to better manage the tight turnaround between series.

The left-hander concedes that Australia's Test players could have been afforded a rest during the ODI series against England, which the tourists won comfortably 4-1.

As is normally the case, there was little time this season between the end of the Test summer and the beginning of the white-ball campaign; there were just five days between the final day of the fifth Test and the start of the ODI series, which Warner believes isn't long enough for players to perform at their best.

"In hindsight, you can say yes (given) the way that we performed," he told cricket.com.au when asked if Australia's leading players should have sat out part of the ODI series.

"But even if we performed as well, you probably would have got a break as well.

"I just think the thing that's missing is the gap between the last Test and the first one-day game. England had, I think, four players maybe (playing both Tests and ODIs) and besides Chris Woakes, there wasn't another bowler. You look at little things like that that can benefit us in a way.

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"It was a bit of a mental breakdown from a few of us.

"If you look at the Twenty20 team at the moment, the way these guys have come out of the Big Bash fresh, they're just killing it.

"It's sort of set the example that if we come around to the same situation again with a big Ashes series, do we look at certain things? And that's up to Cricket Australia to look at and judge.

"It's up to the individual as well to put their hand up. If you are cooked or something, you're an adult, you're not going to get shot down for putting your hand up. We have the onus upon ourselves to do that."

But like Smith, Warner admits it would be difficult for players to willingly give up the chance to play for their country.

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"(But) we're never going to put our hand up to say we need a rest, that's for sure, because every day we're living the dream."

Warner is the only Australian to have played all three formats this summer and his preparation for the Qantas Test tour of South Africa will also be truncated by the ongoing T20 series in New Zealand.

Having been given a rare two-day break at home with his family in Sydney last week, the stand-in T20 skipper appeared to benefit from the short stint away, snapping his run drought in Australia's record-breaking win in Auckland on Friday night.

He will now contest the tri-series final at Eden Park on Wednesday before flying to South Africa, meaning he will miss Australia's only warm-up match ahead of the first Test against the Proteas starting on March 1.

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But the left-hander is confident he can overcome the interrupted lead-in to find his best form in the Test series.

"Hopefully I'll get my time in the nets and I will be able to adjust to that," he said.

The opener was named Australia's ODI Cricketer of the Year on Monday night, despite the England series being the least productive of his career to date.

But as a back-to-back winner of the award – he scored a total of 10 centuries and averaged 55 in the past two voting periods – the left-hander wasn't reading much into his slump.

"Mentally, 100 per cent you're going to be drained," he said. "Physically you're always primed when you go out there no matter what. There's no excuses.

"I think I copped three really good balls in that one-day series. That just happens in the game. You try your best all the time and sometimes it's not going to come off like The Don.

"I think you earn the right to have a bit of a lull here and there. You're always going to cop criticism left, right and centre. From social media and then media. That's part of the profession."

Qantas tour of South Africa

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.

Warm-up match v SA Invitational XI, Sahara Park, Benoni, Feb 22-24

First Test Kingsmead, Durban, March 1-5

Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13

Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26

Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3

Visit cricket.com.au/travel for more information