Saturday, September 30

Brijesh Patel Coaching Academy

Brijesh Pursuram Patel played in 21 Test matches from 1974 to 1977 with a batting average of 29.45, and a career-best of 115 not out from the Port of Spain Test of 1976, where he put on a doughty 5th-wicket parthership with Sunil Gavaskar. He was a sharp fielder normally covering point. He was also a bowler, but never asked to deliver his right-arm off breaks at the Test level. His international career does not do justice to his stylish batting -- he is considered one of the greats of the Indian domestic circuit with 37 hundreds and over 11000 runs; he held for many years the record for the highest number of centuries (26) in the Ranji trophy, which earned him the title "Ranji Raja."

After his playing days he became a shrewd cricket administrator (belonging to the 'Dalmiya Camp'), till heart ailments and bypass surgery reduced him to running a coaching camp for boys -- BPCA or Brijesh Patel Coaching Academy -- at the grounds of his alma mater Bishop Cotton Boys School, which happens to lie behind my guest house.

From a 2003 article:

An open gunny sack lay behind the table. As each new boy paid his fee, the man behind the desk tossed it into the sack without even counting the money! By the time the registrations for the summer cricket camp closed, the sack was full with uncounted and unaccounted money!

Patel's camp costs, say some students who have joined this year, Rs 3,500 per person. Patel himself told that he charges Rs 2,500 per student. "Not everyone is a paying student, though," he clarifies quickly. "We charge them based on their financial abilities, and we waive the fees of highly motivated but poor boys."

There are also several lesser-known cricketers and coaches who run summer cricket camps all over Bangalore, at far lower prices like Rs 1,000 or Rs 1,250 a month. These are not conducted in prime locations around the city.

However, the advantage in going to the better known summer camps is that the boys then have an opportunity to fit into the year-long training at regular cricket academies run by these players.

All this certainly proves that you need not be a star cricketer on the Indian eleven to rake in the money. Any association, past or present players, involved with the game at any level, is to ensure you some good cash from it.


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