Tribute match `will be really special'

SUPERSTAR cricketer Ricky Ponting will return to where it all began tonight in a star-studded testimonial to his phenomenal career.

A capacity crowd is expected at Aurora Stadium for the Ricky Ponting tribute game.

Speaking from the ground yesterday - which looked to be in perfect condition ahead of the contest - Ponting said playing the tribute match under lights at the stadium was sure to be an ``extra special'' experience.

``Launceston, and this place in particular, is so important and special to me because I spent so much of my youth here,'' he said.

``Whether it was out the back at Invermay Park playing for Mowbray Cricket Club or standing out here kicking the ball at half-time watching the North Launceston Footy Club, it's just really special to me.''

Money raised through the match will assist the Ponting Foundation support Tasmanian children battling cancer.

The former Australian captain said raising anything in excess of $150,000 or $200,000 would be a huge result.

``Whatever we make we'll be very proud of, and trust me every cent in every dollar will stay here in Tasmania,'' Ponting said.

Ponting said the match was sure to be a good contest, with highly competitive players on both sides.

``Talking to Brett Lee the other day, he wants to run and bowl as fast as he can in this game,'' he said.

``As you'll notice he's in my team, so he won't be bowling to me, which is good.''

Ponting said he couldn't be sure what sort of form he was in with the bat.

``I haven't picked up a bat since the last time I was here for the Aussie 15s a couple of months ago,'' he said.

``I think I'll have certain rules around my innings that other players won't have. Hopefully the can't-go-out-first-ball rule is in place.''

Gates open at 5.30pm, with the main match starting at 7.15pm.

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