Lee Fortis is to return to The Oval as head groundsman next week. Fortis, 30, was previously assistant head groundsman and, since leaving the club in 2006, has been in charge of tending the Honourable Artillery Company ground in the City of London.

He will take charge at The Oval on Monday April 30, leading a team that will include former head groundsman Bill Gordon, who remains at the club in a consultancy role and has led the ground staff team in the interim period following the recent departure of Scott Patterson.

"It will be good to return to The Oval and an honour to once again work at such an historic ground and be part of a successful Surrey," Fortis said.

Richard Gould, Surrey's chief executive, added: "The job of head groundsman at The Oval is never an easy one, but in Lee Fortis I believe we have found a formidable candidate that will be able to provide consistently world-class wickets for many seasons to come."

The appointment comes at a time when groundsmen around the county circuit are having to deal with wet spring conditions that make preparing pitches increasingly difficult. Surrey batsman Mark Ramprakash has been a vocal complainant after the earliest start to the Championship in the competition's history.