South Africa news July 20, 2014

Smith will not return to Surrey

ESPNcricinfo staff

Graeme Smith has taken a step closer to full retirement with confirmation he will not complete his three-year deal with Surrey in 2015 after receiving medical advice following knee surgery.

Smith was forced to curtail his 2014 campaign in May after being diagnosed with fractured right knee which required an operation. It was the second time in two seasons that he had withdrawn through injury - in 2013, the first year of his much-vaunted Surrey deal, it was an ankle problem which cut short the summer.

It has now been decided that he will not be able to cope with the demands of a full English season and he will not return for the final year of his contract. There was not any immediate indication as to whether this spelt the end of his professional career, but he has so far been reluctant to pursue the world of T20 freelancing.

"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," Smith said.

"I would like to thank Surrey for the way they have looked after me. 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 Surrey director of cricket, said: "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 Kia Oval."

Smith retired from international cricket after the final Test against Australia, in Cape Town, during March and the indications were that the spell with Surrey, where he had a desire to lead the rebuilding of a young team, would be the final stage of his career.