South Africa batsman Hashim Amla has taken the 'difficult' decision to leave domestic franchise Dolphins and join Cape Town-based Cape Cobras, in a move that will take place with immediate effect.
In an apologetic statement, Amla offered reasons behind his decision to leave Durban to join the Cobras, and placed on record his sadness at leaving behind Dolphins and his province side KwaZulu-Natal.
"After a great deal of consideration and detailed discussion with my family and closest confidants, I have made the decision to move to Cape Cobras with immediate effect," read Amla's statement.
"I must stress that this was a difficult decision for me.
"I have always considered myself a Durban boy and know that I will dearly miss the support of the KZN fans during the domestic games.
"Although I may not have played a lot of domestic cricket in recent years due to my national team commitments, it is this tremendous support of the fans at KZN that I will remember and cherish the most."
He added: "I have decided to pursue my domestic career with Cape Cobras, and I am looking forward to joining a team that has as rich a tradition as Dolphins.
"I'm extremely excited about the future and look forward to making many new friends and colleagues in the Western Cape, whilst enjoying the game of cricket.
"I would like to use this opportunity to personally wish the players of the Dolphins team everything of the best. Lastly, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to Dolphins' CEO Jesse Chellan for his support and assistance. It has been a great pleasure to work with him."
Amla's place in the South Africa team restricted him to only 41 appearances for Dolphins, the last of which came in February 2012, while he played for KwaZulu-Natal on 19 occasions.
The 30-year-old, who is ranked as the No.1 batsman in Test cricket, joins several international teammates on the books at Cape Cobras, with the likes of Graeme Smith and Dale Steyn also with the franchise.
Cobras are coached by former South Africa spinner Paul Adams, and can also boast among their number Jacques Kallis, JP Duminy and Vernon Philander.