Graeme Smith, who had signed a three-year contract with Surrey that ran from 2013 to 2015, confirmed on the weekend that he would not return for the final year of that deal following knee surgery.
Smith cut short his 2014 season in May after his knee gave out, and returned to South Africa for surgery. Following his recovery from that process, his doctors have advised him that his knee will not stand up to a full season of County cricket.
This has lead him to terminate his contract with Surrey, despite saying a few months ago that he was hopeful of a return to the club for the 2015 campaign.
Speaking to the Surrey cricket website, Smith expressed regret at not being able to see out the contract, but thanked the club for understanding his situation. ‘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.
‘I would like to thank Surrey for the way they have looked after me,’ he said. ‘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.’
Alec Stewart, the director of cricket at Surrey, thanked Graeme for his contribution to the side. ‘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. We wish Graeme the very best in the next stage of his career and he will always be welcomed at The Oval.’
It is not known whether Smith will pursue any other cricket commitments in the future, but he has not taken up any freelance T20 gigs in recent years. If he doesn’t take that route, then it is likely his playing career is now finished.