By Sean Devers in Trinidad
In association with Regal, Vnet,
Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel
Many might not remember that when Clinton Pestano first played for Guyana in the 2005 Regional U-15 tournament in Dominica, he was an opening batsman and never bowled.
Fast forward to 2018 and Pestano, who turns 26 on November 11, is fast becoming a pest to the batsmen in the Regional Super50 tournament here and is only behind Canadian Romesh Don on the list of wickets taken by pacers with 11.
Only off-spinner Ramaal Lewis (12) has more than the Rose Hall Town Youth &Sports Club All-Rounder for front runners Jaguars in this tournament.
When Pestano dismissed Lendl Simmons (70), Kerion Pollard (0) and Dwayne Bravo (0) last Saturday at the Brian Lara Academy with three consecutive deliveries it left Red Force on 133-5 chasing the Jaguars’ 291-8.
It not only turned the game on its head but inserted his name in the annals of West Indies Cricket as the first Guyanese to take a hat-trick in Regional 50-over cricket since its official inauguration in 1976.
He now joins four others since T&T’s leg-spinner Rajendra Dhanraj achieved the feat for the first time in the 1996 Final against Guyana at Bourda. Leewards leg-spinner Anthony Martin (2008), T&T’s Pollard (2010) and Sunil Narine (2018) are the others with hat-tricks in this tournament.
Pestano was not aware he was the only Guyanese to get a hat-trick but was delighted by the feat.
“It feels good that I am the first Guyanese to do that, I did not know that before you told me but I happy that I played a part in our victory. I have not had a hat-trick before ….even in school cricket. I have taken three wickets in four balls a few times but this was my first ever hat-trick,” Pestano informed with a smile that lit up his face.
“That was my most memorable moment in cricket. I have set goals but I don’t want to disclose them,” added Pestano, who has five brothers and three sisters.
Pestano has long hair which he wears in braids and informed he has improved and been more consistent in this tournament because of the bowling drills done by Coaches Esuan Crandon and Rayon Griffith before the Super50 began.
“I am putting into practice what was done in the drills in Guyana and I think I am getting success here because I am working on bowling in the right areas and getting the ball to move both ways,” said the young pacer who feels that the pitches here are not too different from the ones in Guyana.
“A fast bowler has to have variety and bowl a few bouncers even on slow pitches since you don’t want the batsmen to start predicting what you are bowling,” said the Berbician who goes to the Gym to improve his fitness but is not too keen on lifting heavy weights.
“I don’t change things too much when bowling with the new ball and when I come back for a second spell and I am very confident to bowl slower balls even in the power-play,” said the lively Pestano.
“While the Barbados pitch was not bad, I think we need faster pitches to encourage fast bowling,” said Pestano who enjoys getting batsmen caught behind or in the slips with the one that leaves the right-handers.
“I prefer 50 and T20 matches because of my aggressive batting style and the control I try to bowl with. But I have to do well in First-Class cricket which calls for more patience and longer concentration since I see myself playing in all three formats for the West Indies in the next four years or before,” stated Pestano who enjoys watching sports on TV and listening to music.
Pestano played one T20 game this year for City club Malteenoes but said he has joined Everest but is yet to play for them.
Born in Skeldon in Corriverton, Berbice where the Corentyne River forms a maritime border with the Dutch speaking South American Nation of Suriname, Pestano moved to Rose Hall Town when he was 16.
He became interested in cricket from playing for the Skeldon club (back centre) with his father who died five years ago.
“I made the First Division team when I was 12 and played with my father. I never liked bowling although as I got older I bowled a bit of off-spin. Iloved batting and did not bowl at all when I played for Guyana at U-15,” said Pestano.
After moving to Rose Hall Town he played for the RHTYSC at the U-17 level and for Berbice in the U-17 inter-county competition but only bowled in one match and played as batsman in the Guyana U-17 team in Trinidad in 2008.
“When the U-17 team was picked I was not interested in bowling. The fast bowlers were Keon Joseph, Seon Daniels and Andre Stoll, while the spinners were Amir Khan and Ricardo Devers. Reon King (Ex Windies Test pacer) saw me bowling in the nets and worked a bit with me and that’s how I became a bowler,” Pestano noted.
In the 2011 U-19 Inter-County tournament Pestano began to show his all-round ability and was voted the MVP of the Berbice team for two match winning innings and some good bowling performances.
But in the 2011 Regional U-19 series in Guyana Pestano, whose favourite player is South African All-Rounder Jacques Kallis, played as a batting all-rounder and batted at number three.
After his youth cricket days were over Pestano had to wait until last year to make his first-Class debut against Barbados in Barbados before making his 50-over debut this year in Antigua.
But it was a far from an auspicious start to his senior career. He had 0-90 from 22 overs and made a duck in his first outing at First-Class level but reminded those, who had followed his early days, of his batting prowess with 38 in the second innings.
His second game at Providence was nothing special; he made 15 & 5 had 1-70. On his 50-over debut against the USA he bowled tidily; taking 1-19 from seven overs but a groin injury ended his tournament and kept him out of the game for three months.
“Getting that injury was my worst moment in my career since I did not know how long I would have been out for. But with the support from my brothers, close friends and my girlfriend Lola McKenzie I am back doing what I love doing,” said Pestano who has played club cricket here.
“I played for Diamond United in South Trinidad from 2014-2016 and strange enough all the Guyanese who played there made the Guyana team just after that. Bishoo, Vishaul Singh, Chandrika and Foo are some of the Guyanese who played for Diamond,” concluded Pestano.
Pestano might now yet be an outstanding West Indian star but from the little he has shown here and with commitment, hard work and focus he has the raw talent that if nurtured properly could see him realising his dreams of playing for the Windies or getting a T20 contract.
Pestano’s record read:First-Class: 2 matches, 4 innings, 58 runs, H/S 38, Ave 14.50 and 1-160 from 276.
List ‘A’: 7 matches, 3 innings, 25 runs, /HS 21 and 12-205 from 324 balls at an economy rate of 3.9 and an Ave of 17.8.
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