Hashim Amla replaces Graeme Smith at Surrey

Smith led Surrey to a solitary Championship victory in the opening five games of 2014 (©GettyImages)

South African batsman, Hashim Amla, is set to act as a replacement for compatriot, Graeme Smith, whose fractured knee has ruled him out of the remainder of the season with Surrey.

Smith – who retired from international cricket earlier this year – was captaining the South Eastern county, but will now be replaced by his former South African teammate.

Meanwhile, Gary Wilson will step up to take the role of captain. The Irish wicketkeeper has served the club for a long time, having signed back in 2005.

The veteran participated in 117 Test matches and an astonishing 197 ODIs, yet had called it a day to solely focus on first-class cricket with Surrey this summer.

Smith’s last appearance came against Somerset in the T20 Blast on Sunday. The left-hander contributed 20 towards his side’s 14-run victory at Taunton.

In the opening weeks of the season, Smith was averaging 32.87 in the County Championship for Surrey. The Brown Caps currently reside in seventh place in Division Two – only Leicestershire and Derbyshire are below them, and both have a game in hand. 

The size of the task for incoming Amla is a mammoth one. Only five bonus batting points have been claimed in as many matches. 

Scoring more runs is certainly a way for Surrey to improve, and in Hashim Amla they won’t find too many more talented batsmen. 

The bearded top-order player is guaranteed to remain at The Oval until at least the end of June, but could extend his stay beyond that. 

It is a ground that the 31-year-old must be very fond of, having struck 311 not out against England there in 2012. However, his time in South London wasn’t as successful last summer.

A short stint with Surrey in 2013 saw Amla play in six first-class matches, but the club still were unable to prevent relegation from Division One.

Amla has played 76 Tests for the Proteas and has previously topped both the ODI and Test ICC batting rankings. He will certainly have a lot to offer Surrey, especially in Division Two of the County Championship. 

The disappointment of losing Smith will be cushioned by the capability to bring in such a world-class replacement.

Surrey’s next fixture is a four-day game away to Essex, which starts this coming Sunday. Amla could make his return to the Oval less than a week later, when Middlesex are the visitors in a T20 Blast contest on May 30.

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