Kit Week: The top 25 Australian kits of all time
Ahead of the launch of Nike's new Big Bash kits, we rank the best 25 Australian kits of all time
13 September 2021, 08:00 PM AEST
Welcome to #KitWeek, where we'll look back on some of cricket's highest and lowest points from decades of coloured clothing.
With the the Big Bash League to begin a new era next Monday, September 20, when the new Nike brand kits are officially launched ahead of the 2021-22 season, we're reflecting on some of the best and worst kits from years gone by.
All this week, keep an eye on @cricketcomau's social channels for your chance to rate and review some of Australia's best and worst kits, while the @BBL and @WBBL channels will also be looking back on the highs and lows of cricketing fashion.
We start today with a definitive list of Australia's best ever kits, compiled by the team at cricket.com.au, encompassing both men's and women's cricket across the one-day game as well as T20s.
This has been a highly subjective and controversial process and there's no doubt you'll think this list is either spot on, completely wrong, or somewhere in the middle. But that's what makes it fun!
25) The pin-striped sleeves, 2004-05
The main feature of this kit, which was used for only a short period of time by both the Aussie men and women, is the pin stripes on the green sleeves, which were mirrored in the all-green Australia A kit from the same era. Australia's men debuted this look in 2004 and took it through to the one-day portion of their 2005 Ashes tour before they returned to the prominent green stripes down the sides of the kits, which were first used in their 2003 World Cup win. The Aussie women enjoyed more success in this look, including their 2005 World Cup win in South Africa.
24) 1997 South Africa tour
This was an eventful seven-match campaign that included the emergence of Adam Gilchrist, Steve Waugh's first match as captain and signalled the beginning of the end of the Taylor-Healy era in ODI cricket. It was also the one and only time that this kit, with its speckled green pattern and golden hue, was worn by the Australian team. The use of stencil and spray paint was all the rage at the time, and it looks like it was used for the stars and team name on the front of the shirt.
23) Post World Series Cricket, 1980-85
The original and still one of the best, this striking kit featured in the cricketing dreams of all young fans from the time. The early years of ODI cricket following the Packer era were halcyon days, with the Australian public giddy for the still relatively new format and thrilling contests under lights. The sight of Dennis Lillee, Rod Marsh and Greg Chappell in this kit, normally stretched tight across their bodies with chest hair blossoming out of a row of open buttons, is truly an iconic sight.
22) Baseball style, 1988-92
Having just come off a World Cup win in India where they wore traditional white clothing, Australia went for a bold new look in 1988 and took all touring teams along for the ride for the next four years. The likes of the West Indies and Pakistan joined the Aussies in sporting a kit with cursive script emblazoned across the chest as well as two thick horizontal bands to off-set the team's dominant colour. For Australians, this was the peak era of Allan Border and Dean Jones, of Steve Waugh and David Boon and, of course, Merv Hughes, who wore this kit during his famous warm-up routine in front of Bay 13 at the MCG.
21) 2005 Super Series
Australia wore this kit or a variation of it in the middle years of the new decade, starting with the long-forgotten 'Super Series' against the World XI in Melbourne, when 'AUSTRALIA' was added to the front of the shirt. With matches played under the roof at Docklands Stadium, the majority of the team wore the long-sleeved version of this kit, which best showed off the three stripes on the green sleeves and off-set the yellow of the rest of the design.
20) Original all green, 2007-2010
Having worn a predominantly yellow/gold kit for decades, Australia took green and gold literally in the summer of 2006-07 and unveiled a kit that was and remains highly controversial. The significant shift was said to reflect the dark green of Australia's Test caps, but it also happened to coincide with the recruitment of new shirt sponsor Commonwealth Bank, whose yellow logo worked nicely on a dark green background. It started a trend of predominantly green ODI kits for home campaigns (which has since been abandoned) and black for T20 cricket, a move away from the traditional colours that the Aussies had worn since the very start of cricket in coloured clothing.
19) Turn of the century women's kit, 1999-2000
Used for a short period at the turn of the century, this kit was a simplified version of the look Australia would wear at the 2000 World Cup. Predominantly yellow but – controversially – with a dark green cap, the main feature of the shirt was the prominent green stars, which shot across the top and sleeves.
18) Vertical stripes, 1995-98
Commonly known as the barcode kit, this look was used both at home and abroad during the late 1990s as Australia moved on from the Mark Taylor era and built a one-day juggernaut under Steve Waugh's leadership. In Australia, touring teams would often replicate this look, with the West Indies, Pakistan, South Africa and New Zealand among those to wear a similar kit.
17) 1992 Men's World Cup
This was the first time that coloured clothing was worn at a World Cup and these kits remain much-loved by fans across the globe. The green-red-blue stripes on the shoulders were consistent across the kits of all nine teams, as was the bold block letters across the front of the shirts. Despite the co-hosts Australia being knocked out before the semi-finals, this look was an instant classic and remains enormously popular, particularly when it's topped off by the iconic all-yellow cap.
16) 1996 Men's World Cup
Riffing on the style from the 1992 World Cup, the main feature of this look is the strip of colours from competing nations that arrows across the sternum, which was incorporated into all the kits worn at the tournament. The thick green band and widely-spaced vertical stripes of white and green break-up the gold in Australia's shirt, while a unique baseball cap featuring a star and green brim with a Southern Cross motif completes the look.
15) Green horizontal stripe, 1985-88
A staple of 1980s cricket and briefly revived a couple of seasons ago, this was a popular kit for many a season. While predominantly yellow, the splash of green on this kit is striking, helped by the fact the buttons go down to the player's sternum to meet the thick horizontal stripe. The shirts are fantastic, but the knitted vests that follow a similar pattern are also outstanding, and look like something your nan would have made you.
14) 2000 Women's World Cup
The Aussie women's team wore this kit for several tournaments at the start of the new century, including their disappointing loss in the final of the World Cup to New Zealand. It's a look very much of the time, with bold patterns and random injections of colour amongst the traditional stars of the southern cross. This kit also came with a dark green cap, a controversial shift from tradition, as well as the popular gold floppy.
13) 1986-87 Perth Challenge
Arranged as part of the lead-up to Australia's America's Cup sailing defence in Fremantle that summer, the kits for this quadrangular ODI tournament followed the nautical theme. The design of Australia's shirt was essentially a replica of the official team uniform of Australia's sailing team, while an image of the 12m yachts used in the America's Cup was embroidered on each team's shirt. The four other nations involved wore kits bearing the same design, in blue for England, green for Pakistan and maroon for the West Indies.
12) 2003 Men's World Cup
Australia used this kit or something similar for much of the early 2000s, but the 'clean' version for their 2003 World Cup win – shirt sponsors are not allowed at ICC tournaments – is the pick of the bunch. The dark green strips down the side of the shirt and pants offset the bright yellow with the prominent southern cross on the front, while the knitted vests that are half yellow and half green are another popular item from this look.
11) 2007 Men's World Cup
A legendary kit used for the second of Australia's unbeaten World Cup campaigns, and their third world title in a row. The debate about whether the Aussies wear 'Australian gold' or 'canary yellow' is part of folklore, but this kit certainly leans towards gold to the point where it's almost has an orange tinge. The dark green horizontal stripe to house the word 'Australia' on the chest is a strong addition and the success of this campaign will always make this kit a popular one.
10) 1996 Titan Cup
A largely forgettable one-day tri-series (so much so that we can only find some grainy vision of it on You Tube) featured similarly designed kits for the Aussies, South Africa and India, the host nation. Australia's kit was predominantly yellow except for the green chest, which was broken up by thin vertical stripes, and the prominent 'AUSTRALIA' across the middle, a design feature that looks like Caps Lock was used accidentally. The Proteas had the reverse kit of predominantly green with a yellow chest, while India were blue with a yellow chest.
Here is one more Iconic photo. Adam Gilchrist castled by Allan ' White lightning' Donald. This was Gilly's Debut. pic.twitter.com/0bxCbIHn1l— Cricfinity (@cricfinity) April 7, 2020
9) 1998 New Zealand Tour
A new look for Steve Waugh's first full tour as ODI captain and a pre-cursor to the famous kit worn at the 1999 World Cup. The return to the all-gold kit (including gold helmets) and the addition of the shooting stars across the chest set the scene for Australia's look at the showpiece event 18 months later. This four-match series across the Tasman was the only time the Aussies wore this kit, while New Zealand's black and teal number with the prominent silver fern from that campaign is another strong look.
8) Indigenous T20, 2020
The shift to an all-black strip for Australia's T20 teams has been highly controversial, but we think this look from last summer is the best one yet. The Walkabout Wickets artwork on the body of the top has been a feature of Australian kits for some time, but the Indigenous artwork really shines in the long-sleeved version of this shirt. Not only does it look great, but the message this kit sends makes it extra special.
7) Australia A, 2000
This look was used for just two matches in one summer so many fans may not remember it or have ever seen it before. Australia A debuted this kit in some warm-up games against Pakistan in the early days of a new century, just before that summer's ODI tri-series. The predominantly emerald green strip with yellow trim was also used the following summer, but this strip was unique for the striking 'Australia A' logo emblazoned on the front, which was nowhere to be seen when the A boys played again 12 months later.
6) 1997 Women's World Cup
The kit Australia wore during their 1997 World Cup win is always going to hold a special place and there is a lot to unpack here from a purely aesthetic point of view. Firstly, the training kit combination of purple t-shirts and turquoise parachute pants is a peak look for the time, but there are extra points for the bold use of white in the main kit, which is a rare deviation in the era of coloured clothing. The wool vests with their vertical stripes are a perfect contrast to the gold trousers, and also give off a strong Canberra Raiders vibe from the same generation. Throw in a gold floppy and it's hard to fault this look at all.
5) The Blue Stripe, 1999-01
A new look for a new century as the new World Cup winners added a dash of blue to their kit, while the name 'Australia' also returned to the front of the shirt. The debut of this look coincided with that of one of Australia's ODI greats, pace ace Brett Lee, who burst onto the scene in the 1999-00 season with some terrifying spells. The Blue Stripe also has the honour of being the first Australian ODI kit worn indoors, when the Aussies met South Africa under the roof at what is now known as Marvel Stadium in Melbourne's Docklands. The wool vests worn during this winter series, where the blue stripe went horizontally across the chest, are a nice touch.
4) Women's culottes v NZ, 1996
There's obviously a bit going on in this rare photo so let's break it down. While the eyes are immediately drawn to the abstract-patterned, multi-coloured culottes worn by the great Belinda Clark, don't let their immense nineties-ness distract from the other features of this look. Wearing a gold floppy hat while batting is obviously a huge tick and while you need to look closely in this photo to spot it, the fact the collar on the shirt is the same pattern as those magnificent culottes is a masterful touch. The culottes themselves are neither practical for top-level sport nor overly fashionable, but the great BC has a look on her face that says 'my thigh pad might be poking out the bottom of these, but my back-foot drive doesn't care'. And that's not even mentioning the light grey, baseball-style kit worn by Sarah Illingsworth behind the stumps who – of course – is keeping in short sleeves. Overall, you probably think this photo is the absolute high watermark of cricketing fashion, or its lowest point.
3) Australia and Australia A, 1994-95
This predominantly yellow Australian men's kit was used for three seasons, but it's the contrasting Australia A outfit that the 1994-95 summer spawned that puts this look in the top three. The story of how a young side stacked with future legends was shoehorned into the one-day portion of the summer has been well told, and the Australia A shirt has taken on an almost mythical status a quarter-of-a-century later. But the senior team's kit also holds a special place, not least because it was what Michael Bevan was wearing on that unforgettable New Year's Day in 1996.
2) The Lightning Bolts, 1992-94
Another iconic kit from the early 90s that was made famous during the summer of Shane Warne in 1993-94. The leg-spinner absolutely dominated his first home season following his breakout Ashes tour, destroying both South Africa and New Zealand in both formats, and the sight of him in this lairy kit with zinc on his lip and bright blond hair was a joy to behold. That summer's ODI tri-series, where the South Africans and Kiwis also wore lightning bolt kits of their own, turned out to be a thriller. South Africa, on their first tour of Australia since re-admission, scraped into the final on Net Run Rate before the Aussies fought back from 1-0 down to win the finals series 2-1.
1) 1999 Men's World Cup
Tens of thousands of voters can't be wrong! A resounding winner of the 'Pick the Kit' competition in 2019, this strip has a special place in the hearts of Australian cricket fans as it symbolises the start of the men's team's World Cup dominance at the turn of this century. Possibly the brightest shade of canary yellow (that's Australian gold, my friend) ever worn by the Aussie team. A worthy winner.