It is only four months since Ricky Ponting lifted the World Cup but he now has his sights set on winning the Twenty20 version © Getty Images

Australia will ditch their light-hearted Twenty20 outlook as they prepare to treat the inaugural World Championship as seriously as the successful Caribbean campaign earlier in the year. In its previous five matches the team has looked at the game as entertainment, but Ricky Ponting outlined the changes as he chases a hat-trick of global limited-overs trophies in South Africa next month.

When asked if Australia would tackle the tournament with the same intensity as the 2007 World Cup Ponting said: "We will, definitely. It's cricket for us, and we've got to prepare as best as we can. We're preparing trying to win the Twenty20 World Championship."

The mood change since the first international in 2005 is significant and Ponting seemed disappointed the status had been upgraded from exhibition to must-win contests. In New Zealand the opening game was a retro tribute with the players sporting big hair and sweaty headbands, and since then matches were played as a warm-up to the main one-day internationals.

In South Africa, Australia's first match is against Zimbabwe on September 12 and Ponting expects some of the smiles to disappear. "One of the best things about the game was it was fun and you play your best cricket when you are getting out there and having fun," he said. "Now we're playing a World Cup the players will be worried about stats and that might lose a bit of the beauty about the game."

Australia, who also hold the Champions Trophy, have won three of their Twenty20 matches and the fringe players in the squad will be in a better position than their senior team-mates. "It's a young game for us, especially for the international guys who only played a few games," Ponting said. "The guys in the states and the counties have played more than we have."

Being tactically unaware is a strange position for the squad and it will be working on methods to conquer the condensed game during its week-long camp in Queensland. In an unusual pre-season training move Ponting's batting over the next week will involve "hitting every ball as hard as I can, as far as I can".

The 25 contracted players arrived at the Sunshine Coast town of Coolum on Sunday and will be involved in detailed planning sessions during the week before practice matches in Brisbane at the weekend. While the Twenty20 tournament is the immediate high-profile priority, the squad will also be building for a one-day tour to India, Test series against Sri Lanka and India and an Australia A trip to Pakistan.

The six home Tests form part of a rescheduled summer for Australia - Sri Lanka play two games in November and India open the four-match series in Melbourne on Boxing Day - and Ponting felt India would form the greater challenge. "Sri Lanka probably rely on Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene with the bat and Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas with the ball," he said. "India probably have more depth than Sri Lanka in Test cricket, but India have historically been very poor travellers."

Ponting said India's series win over England earlier this month would give them confidence but he expected his team to prevail even without the retired Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer. "With both those sides, if we perform at our best, we should be able to win pretty easily in Australia."

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo