London - South Africa’s Graeme Smith will not be returning to Surrey next season, the English county announced on Sunday.
The former captain of the Proteas was the London club's skipper. He played just three matches for Surrey last season because of an ankle injury and was ruled out for the rest of the ongoing campaign after fracturing his knee in May, subsequently undergoing surgery.
Now doctors have told 33-year-old left-handed opener Smith, who retired from international cricket in March after 117 Tests, that he will not be able to “fulfil the day-to-day duties of a full county season”, with both club and player agreeing to end his three-year stay at The Oval a year early.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of captaining Surrey but due to my injuries in 2013 and 2014 I have been unable to fulfil my role in achieving the goals that both Surrey and I set out to accomplish when I first arrived,” Smith told www.kiaoval.com.
“I would like to thank Surrey for the way they have looked after me.
“They have made me feel very welcome and it is very apparent that the current cricket management and personnel in the dressing room are already well on their way to achieving these goals.
“I will continue to follow the club's progress over the coming years.”
Smith played eight championship games in total for Surrey, scoring 383 runs including an innings of 103 against Gloucestershire at The Oval this year.
Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart said: “On behalf of the club, and particularly the dressing room, I would like to thank Graeme for the impact he has had in the time that he was with us over the last two years.
“As a person and leader his qualities have helped lay the foundations for the progress that we all want for the club,” the former England captain added.
“We wish Graeme the very best in the next stage of his career and he will always be welcomed at the Kia Oval.” - Sapa-AFP