Surrey County Cricket Club have announced South African Graham Ford will take over as their new head coach from February after his contract with Sri Lanka expires.

The London based county have been without a permanent figure head since Chris Adams was sacked in June as they slid to the bottom of the LV= County Championship Division One, meaning they were relegated.

Surrey legend Alec Stewart took the temporary reigns as he helped them to the Friends Life t20 final, only to be beaten by Northampton but now Ford appears something of a coup with his impressive CV.

The 52-year-old is the current Sri Lanka head coach but he admitted last month he would step down from the position due to family reasons. Ford has had success in the role including guiding the country to the final of the World Twenty20 on home soil but he has decided the time is right to move on after two years in charge.

He has also had stints in charge at Natal, South Africa and Kent which is sure to stand him in great stead at Surrey as they move through a transitional stage. The experienced coach has also been described as Kevin Pietersen’s mentor with the England batsman a huge fan after the pair grew a close relationship ever since his school days.

Ford has signed a three year contract at The Kia Oval and will be working alongside fellow South African Graeme Smith who will return to lead the county in 2014 which will form one of the most impressive leaderships in recent times.

Ford has told the Surrey website: “I am delighted to once again be involved in English cricketing system. I have, for a long while, been an admirer of Surrey CCC and see it as a great privilege to be actively involved in such a fine club. I look forward to the exciting times ahead!”

Alec Stewart, Director of Cricket added: “This is an outstanding appointment. Graham is someone who is well respected throughout the cricketing world and has a reputation of improving individual and team performances – I am looking forward to working with him.”

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