THE series against South Africa has taken its toll, with four players from the squad named for the third Test in Perth ruled out of at least this weekend's first round of matches in the Big Bash League.
Australian skipper Michael Clarke will not play for the Sydney Thunder against cross-town rivals the Sydney Sixers on Saturday night because of lower back stiffness.
Bowlers Ben Hilfenhaus, John Hastings and Josh Hazlewood have also been ruled out.
While Clarke was expected to recover in time for the first Test against Sri Lanka starting in Hobart next Friday, the news was not so good for the fast bowlers.
Hilfenhaus, who missed the third Test, has been advised not to play for the Hobart Hurricanes against the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba on Sunday, while Hastings has back pain and may miss the Sri Lanka Test as well as round one of the BBL.
Hazlewood has the most serious injury of the three bowlers, reporting soreness in the same region of his left foot where he had a stress fracture last season.
Cricket Australia chief medical officer Justin Paoloni said Hazlewood, "Will have a short break from bowling for a few weeks and be back playing in approximately 4-6 weeks".