KARACHI, Oct 22: A foreign-based bank signed a Rupees 8m sponsorship deal for domestic cricket for the 2004-2005 season with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday. Shaharyar M. Khan, the PCB chairman signed on behalf of the board , while country manager ABO Amro Bank Naveed Khan put his signature on the contract on behalf of the bank.

As per the signed agreement, the bank is to sponsor the country's premier first class events, the four-day Quaid-i-Azam Trophy matches and one-day Quaid-i-Azam Trophy matches for the Association teams and the four-day Patrons Trophy and the one-day Patrons Trophy matches for departmental teams and the newly launched 20-20 Cup which will be held early next year in Lahore.

PCB chairman said that this was indeed a special event as it was a major breakthrough in sponsorship at the domestic level. "PCB is also holding talks with the chambers of commerce and industry in various cities to sponsor their teams at domestic level and (we) are looking for more sponsorship for the 11 regional teams," PCB boss said.

Replying to a question put to him that a lot of cricket was being played in the Holy month of Ramazan, he admitted that with the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy and the Test series with Sri Lanka in progress, a lot of cricket was being played in Ramazan and promised that from next year this hectic programme will be curtailed.

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