Laurie Evans will play for Surrey in this year's Vitality T20 Blast after extending his loan deal at the club before joining permanently next season.
Evans, 32, has made a name for himself as a T20 batsman around the world after a breakout season for Sussex in 2018 which earned him stints in the Afghan Premier League, BPL, PSL, CPL and the Abu Dhabi T10.
He joined Surrey on loan ahead of their second Bob Willis Trophy game after being left out of the Sussex side, and confirmed last week that he had signed a two-year deal at the club. Sussex initially announced that he would play for them in the Blast, but as reported by ESPNcricinfo, discussions took place between the clubs, with Evans telling Sussex that he was keen to move as soon as possible.
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"From a club point of view, we're obviously disappointed," Jason Gillespie, Sussex's head coach, said. "Laurie made it clear he was keen to start his time at Surrey. It therefore made sense for all parties to allow him to play for them now.
"With Laurie preferring not to play for our team, it allows another player the opportunity to represent Sussex in the Vitality Blast. Laurie has performed well for us in one-day and T20 cricket in the past, and we wish him well for the future."
Evans' departure is a significant blow for Sussex. He topped the run-scoring charts across the competition in 2018, and has been a key player in an anchoring role at No. 3. The vacancy he leaves could be filled by a number of players: Delray Rawlins or new signing Ravi Bopara could shift up the order, an inexperienced T20 batsman in Tom Clark or Harry Finch could come into the side, or George Garton could return to the pinch-hitting role he filled in the 2019 Royal London Cup.
For Surrey, the news is a significant boost amid uncertainty over availability in their Blast side. Captain Jade Dernbach has been ruled out with injury, and Gareth Batty will lead the side in his place, while Ollie Pope has undergone a scan on his left shoulder after hurting it while fielding on England duty.
Liam Plunkett, Jordan Clark and Morne Morkel have all suffered injuries and are doubts for the first few games of the tournament, while Tom Curran, Jason Roy and Reece Topley are on England duty.
Alec Stewart, Surrey's director of cricket, said: "With the number of players we already provide to the England set-up - and potentially more to come in the near future - it was important to bring an experienced batsman into our squad. "The next month is an important time for this squad, and all of us have a responsibility to turn things around after four very bad results in the Bob Willis Trophy.
"What we have produced so far is nowhere near the levels of performance we expect to see from ourselves, and the more senior players in particular must now step up - regardless of their age - and perform.
"I have said at the outset of this short season that, because of circumstances, some of the younger players will be getting opportunities that they would perhaps not have got in a normal summer. But that's the situation we're in, and we will certainly learn a lot about certain players in the coming weeks."
The sides play each other in their opening game of the tournament at 2pm on Friday, August 28 at Hove. Evans will be ineligible to play against his parent club for both that match and the reverse fixture.