Former South African captain Graeme Smith will not be returning to Surrey after failing to recover sufficiently from the fractured knee he suffered in May.
Smith calls time on Surrey commitments
Surrey were hopeful that Smith may return at some point this season but they have been dealt a double blow because Smith has been ruled out for the remainder of this season and will also not be able to fulfil the final year of his three-year contract in 2015, as doctors have
advised him that the stress and strain of county cricket could mean a further breakdown.
Smith signed a three-year deal with Surrey back in 2012 but he has been unfortunate with injuries during his time in London. He has only played five first-class games and two T20 games this season and in 2013 he was only able to make three first-class appearances due to an ankle problem.
Smith has had a tough 2014 since retiring from International cricket in March. Seemingly injuries are going to take their toll on the 33-year old and a premature end to his career could now be a possibility.
In a fantastic career Smith has played 117 Test matches, scoring over 9,000 runs at an average in excess of 48. He was captain of his country from 2003 to 2013 and has helped build a side that looks set once again to be ranked as the World's number one Test side in the ICC rankings.
Since Smith's injury, Surrey have had to scour World cricket for suitable overseas replacements which has proven a difficult and demanding task for Director of Cricket Alec Stewart. However, they have managed to negotiate some very good short-term signings.
The new South African captain, Hashim Amla, took up the challenge before he departed to lead the Proteas and now Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan is the current overseas player, although he has been absent for two weeks due to his International one-day commitments for his country. South Africa's Robin Peterson has also been part of the T20 side.
Surrey will now need to focus their attention on replacing Smith for next year, preferably with a player who can commit for the majority of the season. However, this may prove very difficult due to the demanding, all-year round, International calendar.
Surrey find themselves in third position in division two of the County Championship, pushing for promotion, and have already qualified for the T20 quarter-finals after beating Gloucestershire on Friday.
Despite an unsettling season, in terms of overseas signings, the club will be happy with how their season has progressed so far as they look to bring the glory years back to The Oval once again.