The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) governing body has today (October 25) announced a naming rights deal with the government-owned National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) that will see the iconic National Stadium cricket ground in Karachi renamed.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the two organizations, the ground will be known as National Bank Cricket Arena for the next five years and the bank will gain signage outside the playing area.

As part of the agreement, the PCB and NBP will also collaborate and partner on sponsoring initiatives to promote and develop grassroots cricket across the country, including the PCB’s initiatives to scout talent in rural areas of the country.

PCB chairman Ramiz Raja said: “I want to welcome NBP back into the PCB family after having supported Pakistan cricket in the past.

“NBP again partnering with the PCB is great news as this reflects that prestigious organizations are willing to be associated with the Pakistan cricket brand as they see a lot of value in it for themselves.

“Additionally, I am grateful to the NBP for also extending support to the PCB Pathways Program. I have always emphasized creating processes for raw talent that can be professionally channelized into the national framework. In this background, this partnership with NBP is a significant movement in that direction.”

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The stadium, owned by PCB, is the largest cricket venue in Pakistan with a capacity of 34,228 and is the home ground of Karachi Kings, the T20 team that competes in the domestic Pakistan Super League.

Ali Hasnie, NBP president and chief executive, added: “We are delighted to partner with the Pakistan Cricket Board. The National Stadium, Karachi is one of the most iconic cricket venues in the world and has hosted some of the legends of all eras since Test cricket was first played there.

“We are honored to associate with such an incredible cricket venue, our endeavor during the next five years would be to help the PCB further uplift the venue while making contributions to Pakistan cricket across the country at the grass root level simultaneously."

Earlier this month, the PCB announced a four-team women’s domestic Twenty20 league will launch in March next year. The tournament, as yet unnamed, will feature 12 games in total and will run alongside the men’s PSL.

The next edition of the PSL is due to run between February 9 and March 13 next year.

Image: Alex Davidson/Getty Images