A BIG part of Adam Gilchrist wishes he was playing with rather than captaining against Ricky Ponting in the Test great's tribute game on Thursday night.
Gilchrist, who first met Ponting on an AIS tour to South Africa in 1992, describes his great mate as still being as fun and mischievous as he was back then, but was now a man that is appreciative of what he has in life and is looking to give back to the community.
Gilchrist said it was these qualities in Ponting that ensured his tribute game had attracted such a quality guest list.
``Through his playing days, he was never one for sentiment or letting emotion get the better of him or the situations he found himself in,'' Gilchrist, who played 96 Tests as a destructive keeper-batsman, told The Examiner .
``But like all players, when you retire, you finish with great memories, and [this game] will be a nice chance for him to say thanks.
``I was most disappointed to find out I wasn't on his team, as you would rather be on his team than against him, but I do understand the concept.
``We'll be looking to put on a good show and provide some entertainment.''
Gilchrist, who will captain a team featuring Greg Blewett, Damien Fleming, Justin Langer, Merv Hughes, Mike Hussey, Shaun Young and footballers Drew Petrie and Jarryd Roughead, said the mixture of former and current cricketers and footballers was a good mix for this type of match.
``The footballers, as we know, they will try to take the chance to prove that they are decent cricketers themselves, so I suspect there will be some decent cricket on display and it will be an entertaining game,'' Gilchrist said.
``I would think it will be an experience that you wouldn't want to miss if you have the capabilities to get along to the day.
``To have such a star-studded line-up, with such big names across cricket and AFL, is testament to the type of character that Ricky is and will be a unique gathering of sportsmen.''
Gilchrist, whose last serious game of cricket was in the 2013 IPL, said he was aiming to bat for as long as he could on Thursday and was looking forward to taking on Hawthorn premiership captain Luke Hodge, who he said had talked his game up and that it was about time he was put under the microscope against quality cricket opponents.
As well as being a fantastic entertainment product, the Twenty20 game will also raise funds for the Ponting Foundation, which helps children with cancer and their families.
``There was no prizes for guessing he would attribute this to his charity, and he's now giving everyone in Launceston a chance to help children and families in need and it was no surprise to hear that he only agreed to the whole day and the whole concept after it was aligned to his charity,'' Gilchrist said .
``But primarily it is a chance to pay tribute to such a champion person, and also a champion cricketer, so it will be a great day to be a part of.''
WHAT: Ricky Ponting Tribute Game.
WHERE: Aurora Stadium, Launceston.
HOW MUCH: General admission, $10 for adults and $2 for children aged 6-15. Seats, $15 for adults and $7 for children aged 6-15. Tickets available from Ticketmaster outlets.