Martin Pestano-Belle: From Alberttown to the Big Apple

Martin Pestano-Belle is waving the Guyana flag high in the United States

At 23, Martin Pestano-Belle has consistently been amongst the runs and superb behind the stumps over the years and is one for the future having recently expanded his skillset to the United States.

A solid opening batsman who  can bat down the order as well as a decent wicketkeeper with the ability to bowl off spin, Pestano-Belle was born in Alberttown where he enlisted at the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) at age six back in 2001.

Growing up with a single parent who is a librarian at the Ministry of Public Health, but with support coming from his father towards his development, Pestano-Belle recalls when he was little he would always pick up a bat and ball eventually spurring his mother and his aunt, Bridget Bess who had known the late coach and West Indies test player, Ivor Mendonca at GCC.

Beginning his career while attending St. Gabriel’s Primary, Pestano-Belle transitioned to the North Georgetown Secondary School in 2006.

The young wicketkeeper broke into the Georgetown under-15 side and later represented Demerara in the Guyana Cricket Board inter-county tournament in the 2010 season. During the 2010 season, Pestano-Belle also began playing second division for GCC.

He moved on to represent both teams at the under-17 level and GCC first division team in 2011 as well as under-19 while attending the Government Technical Institute where he completed his diploma in Fitting Machinery in 2013. In that year, the right-handed batsman was part of the championship winning team of the Hadi’s World Inc. and City Mall 2-day tournament and was awarded GCC’s player of the year in the under-19 division.

In the shorter format, his side has finished on the losing end of three T20 finals hosted by the Georgetown Cricket Association where his father would always be in the stands supporting him.

A successful under-19 stint saw Pestano-Belle advancing into the President XI and Guyana under-19 where he played alongside Kemo Paul and Romario Shepherd against the Bangladesh under-19 consisting of players such as Mehidy Hasan Miraz who recently steered Bangladesh to their first ever victory by an innings over the West Indies.

His fortunes in the longer format continued with him being awarded the best fielder in the finals of the GCA Noble House Seafoods two-day tournament in which his team finished runners up.

Over the years, the wicketkeeper has been working along with a number of established coaches such as Monty Lynch, Neil Danraj, Reon King, Adrian Amsterdam, Garvin Nedd and others.

His 2018 season is no different and continues on an upward trajectory  with him representing Providence Sports Club in the East Bank Cricket tournaments as well as travelling to the United States of America where he excelled.

Playing in the Eastern American Cricket Association 40-overs tournament, Pestano-Belle turned out for the Big Apple Cricket Club where they won the tournament. He was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the competition, scoring 285 runs with a best of 94 and taking seven wickets.

While in the United States, Pestano-Belle took part in the T20 version of the tournament where he scored back-to-back centuries and finished the tournament with 302 runs but lost to ACS Everest in the finals.

According to the rising star, “playing cricket in the USA was very different and difficult due to the face that the conditions were vastly different from playing on grass to playing on matting as well as playing in weather that went from freezing cold to steaming hot in one day.”

However, he noted that he was able to overcome this by working with his fellow GCC club mates, Winston Forrester, Jamal Hinckson, Utam Monroe and Trevon Garraway.

The determination of the young man stemmed from his early upbringing having developed his love for the sport from playing tape ball cricket in the streets of Georgetown and like everything in life had its ups and downs with him wanting to quit at one point.

Currently, the wicket-keeper batsman is aiming to break into the Florida cricketing scene as he intends to study in the United States.

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