Jacques Rudolph, the South Africa batsman, will join Surrey as their overseas player for the start of the 2012 county season. He will provide cover for Murali Kartik, who will miss the first few weeks of the campaign due to his IPL involvement.

Rudolph, 30, was Yorkshire's overseas player last season and has previously played for the county as a Kolpak signing. He won a Test recall over the winter after scoring heavily in South African domestic cricket. Rudolph has received a no objection certificate to represent Surrey and will provide Rory Hamilton-Brown's youthful side with plenty of experience on their return to Division One of the championship.

"Signing a player of Jacques Rudolph's undoubted capabilities and experience is a great boost to our side at the start of the campaign," Surrey team director Chris Adams said. "With such a heavy first-class schedule early in the season it will be a huge advantage to have a world-class opening batsman available to us. I look forward to welcoming Jacques to Surrey in early April."

Primarily an opener, Rudolph averaged 52.20 in 68 appearances for Yorkshire and has scored more than 15,000 first-class runs in his career. He returned to the South Africa side last November after a five-year absence, playing in the series against Australia and Sri Lanka, bringing his Test record to 2,238 runs at 35.52 from 40 matches.

Kartik is expected to return to the side towards the end of May after his IPL involvement with Pune Warriors. Surrey have also signed Australia bowler Dirk Nannes as their second overseas player for their Friends Life t20 campaign.