Australians go for new Twenty20 look

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At first it was Australian Test wicketkeeper Rod Marsh cutting the tops off his pads for a more lightweight, functional design in the 1970s.

Now Australia have unveiled a "world-first" cricket top for next month's ground-breaking Twenty20 world championship.

Captain Ricky Ponting's 15-man squad heads to South Africa on Monday, with the new playing strip to make its debut in Australia's opening match against Zimbabwe in Cape Town on September 12.

"The ICC World Twenty20 Tournament will involve fast games with short recovery periods," Ponting said.

"This new uniform has been specifically designed with the player's comfort and performance in mind."

Manufacturer adidas said the design, including a sleeveless outer layer, encouraged air circulation to increase player comfort and was an attempt to "reflect the youthfulness of the Twenty20 game".

The uniform is designed to provide extra muscle support and power through a compression layer, with the gold-coloured outer layer supposed to keep players comfortable in hot or cold conditions.

Australian coach Tim Nielsen said next month's inaugural world championship was an exciting new frontier for the team which dominates Test and one-day cricket.

Australia have played only three Twenty20 internationals, with Ponting scoring a world-record 98 not out in Auckland against the Kiwis in 2005.

The home side wore extravagant moustaches and bouffant hairstyles for the light-hearted encounter and Ponting said the Australians would try to maintain some of that free-wheeling spirit for the world championship.

Ponting said the Australians would meet on Thursday to discuss tactics, although he admits players from countries such as England where the game is more established could have an advantage.

"I mean, you want to win but you look back to the game in the New Zealand with the retro eighties sort of stuff," Ponting said.

"That was one of the good things about the game. Now that we're playing a world cup and players are worried about performances, I think it might lose a bit of the mystique, but we'll see what happens.

"We'll get over there and give it a shot.

"It will still be fun to play ... The guys are really keen.

"It's a slightly different preparation to what we would do for a normal 50-over game.

"I'll be going to the nets just trying to hit every ball as hard as I can and as far as I can over the next few days."

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