© AFP

Josh Hazlewood feels the the resting period was well warranted in light of the approaching home season and the taxing tour of Sri Lanka earlier. © AFP

Despite Australia’s 5-0 loss in the One-Day International series in South Africa, Josh Hazlewood, who was rested for the series, has defended Cricket Australia’s decision to keep him away from the action with an eye on the workload in what promises to be a busy season.

Away in South Africa, Australia suffered their first series whitewash in a five-match series, and though they remain the No. 1-ranked team in the world, the difference between them and second-placed South Africa had whittled down to four points by the end of the exchanges.

Hazlewood, who returned home early from the Sri Lanka tour, where Australia lost the three-Test series 3-0 before winning the ODI and Twenty20 International series, was rested for the tour of South Africa along with Mitchell Starc.

As a result, the uncapped pace trio of Chris Tremain, Joe Mennie and Daniel Worrall were included alongside John Hastings and Scott Boland.

The decision of going with the inexperienced bowling attack backfired, as all of them ended up with economy rates of above six, and the team even failed to defend their score of 371 for 6 in the third ODI in Durban.

“Sri Lanka was a long tour physically and mentally,” said Hazlewood on Thursday (October 13). “And with a lot of cricket coming up I think the rest was valid.”

Australia are scheduled to play six Tests, eight ODIs and three T20Is at home this summer and are set to tour New Zealand for an ODI series and India in February and March for a Test series.

Hazlewood admitted that it was tough to watch Australia getting drubbed but backed his side to bounce back when they host South Africa for a three-Test series starting November 3. “It gives us a lot of motivation. There’s a lot of change to the teams from Test cricket to one-day cricket,” he said. “There will be a few guys there carrying (scars of) what happened but there will be a lot of fresh faces.”

Hazelwood, who hasn’t played competitive cricket since the third ODI of that five-match series in Sri Lanka on August 28, was set to return to action for New South Wales in their Matador Cup match against Queensland on Friday.

Starc, meanwhile, was still recovering from a freak accident he suffered while training in Brisbane last month, which required emergency surgery and left him with 30 stitches on his left knee.