Tremendous passion for cricket in Pakistan

At Leicester a Pakistani family in this ethnically diverse city are cooking food from their homeland and at lunch there is a long queue, which includes as many Englishmen, including a former Test all-rounder, as Pakistanis, writes Ted Corbett.

July 3 — On our way home from the horrors of the final one-day international, we call in at Grace Road, Leicester to catch up with the Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer. In addition we discover the most delicious smell. A Pakistani family in this ethnically diverse city are cooking food from their homeland and at lunch there is a long queue, which includes as many Englishmen, including a former Test all-rounder, as Pakistanis. There is a noticeable difference between the two groups. The English eaters go for the kebabs, the pakora, samosa and channa chaat while the lads speaking Urdu break off their chat to order burger and chips. Coach Woolmer explains that the passion for cricket is as great in Pakistan as it is here. One promising young bowler pays his own air fare, finds his own way round the country and asks only that he can bowl day-in, day-out to his heroes in the nets.

July 4 — Neville Cardus is still the best known name in cricket writing 31 years after his death and an inspiration to those of us who read him as teenagers and want to follow in his footsteps. He raises the cricket writer from the status of a jobbing reporter to the point where public school boys and university graduates fight for the best jobs. Now Lancashire are putting together an archive of his work after receiving 250 of his letters as a gift from Michael Kennedy, 80, his best friend. Like Kennedy, Cardus combines his cricket writing with music criticism; Kennedy is a Lancashire member who edits a national newspaper and appears on BBC radio and writes books. Busy men whose work is all done with a fountain pen or typewriter rather than the lap top.

July 5 — Andrew Flintoff has not been entirely wasting his time in between intensive bouts of training during his break for an ankle injury. As part of his benefit season the man who still thinks he can captain England in Australia and bat and bowl is helping to organise a Twenty-20 match at Old Trafford which will raise money for leukaemia research, the fund set up after Ben Hollioake dies and the Lord's Taveners. As usual Freddie will be going over the top. He plans to play for both sides. "It promises to be a great night. I don't often get the chance to play at Old Trafford any more and the idea is to put on some entertainment for the fans from this area. I am honoured that so many of my England colleagues agree to play — Marcus Trescothick and Steve Harmison included. It will be fun but I am very keen to raise money for my nominated charities." He hopes 17,000 fans will turn up.

July 6 — No need for formalities at Fred Trueman's funeral. "I'm trying to find the church for Fred . . ." I tell one of a dozen policemen scattered round the tiny village of Bolton Abbey and she knows immediately that I ought to go down the lane as far as the next cop and turn left, through the gap in the stone wall and follow the dozens already on their way to the old church. It is a moving service, even if some of his relatives are dressed more for a party than a funeral; former players including 85-year-old Reg Simpson, current players, Geoff Miller, the selector; even Jack Simmons, Peter Lever and Jim Cumbes from Lancashire. A total of 400 turn up although the police expect 2,000 and the public address system outside is heard by very few. The sun shines on the shallow dale, sheep graze as they have done for centuries, the River Aire trundles along like some medium pace swing bowler and there is a sense of peace everywhere. It occurs to me that those of us who know Fred day-in, day-out forget the greatness of his achievements during and after his career and that there ought to be a permanent memorial. Perhaps the nearby Yorkshire Airport can be renamed after him as Belfast Airport has been named for George Best. As the service is coming to an end the ECB announce that Michael Vaughan's injury is so severe that he will not be fit in time for the tour of Australia. The chat around Fred's final resting place is that Vaughan's career may be at an end. Let us hope not but his first operation on that knee comes when he is 12 which can only mean it is a weak spot and that, however sad it may be to write off a batsman and a captain of his ability, England must look to the future. The name to remember is Stuart Broad, 20, son of Chris, once a left-handed England opener, now a match referee. Stuart is 6ft 6in, bats and bowls very quickly. He may get the 16th place in the Australian tour squad and nip in as Young Cricketer of the Year.

July 7 — There is only one question remaining. Why is Geoff Boycott missing from this gathering of cricket's great and good? He is one of Trueman's great admirers, and yet neither he nor Michael Parkinson, the TV personality with a Yorkshire and cricket background, make the journey to this lovely part of the county for the funeral of the greatest fast bowler who ever lives. (I know that's true because it says so on his death notice.) Maybe one of them thinks he ought to pay the final tribute to Fred instead of the old umpire Dickie Bird, who is so keen to be early that he arrives four hours before the service and, nervous as ever, insists on a rehearsal.

July 8 — Cameron Gray, 13, gets his first taste of team cricket this summer, opens the bowling for his local under-13 team in Cambridgeshire in four matches and each time he grabs a wicket with his first ball. His father Brian wonders: "Is this a record? There is nothing to say so even though I search the internet."

July 9 — Like young Cameron, Matthew Hoggard and Chris Silverwood open the bowling but, even though they are leading quick bowlers with Yorkshire, they never get together for England. Silverwood moves to Middlesex where he collects 37 wickets this summer and, in England's present difficult plight, he may even line up a Test place. It is not just the trip south that improves the skills and rewards of this high-speed cricketer — like his Yorkshire team-mate Craig White he rides a motor cycle to get round the country - but he has a new hobby. He buys such aptly named horses as Bowled Out, Show Me The Lolly, Fine Leg, Materialise, The Doozra and Dickie's Dream and finds not only that they help him relax but that they win a race or two. Silverwood even buys a house in the racing town of Newmarket to be near his girl friend Victoria who works with horses. "I'm hoping Hoggard will put a few pence towards another horse and if he does I will call it Hoggyhoggyhoggy," says Silverwood.