Surrey have captured top-ranked Test and one-day international batsman Hashim Amla in place of South Africa team-mate JP Duminy for their remaining six LV= County Championship games of 2013.
Amla, who has a Test average of 52 and made his career-best 311 not out versus England at the Kia Oval last summer, will join Surrey in time for the visit to Durham, starting a week tomorrow.
Duminy was due for a two-month stint with the county but his Champions League T20 commitments with Hyderabad Sunrisers next month led to Surrey signing an overseas player who is available for the rest of the championship campaign.
Surrey are hoping Amla can help them retain top-flight status as they currently sit in the Division One relegation zone, albeit with a match in hand on fellow strugglers Somerset and Derbyshire.
Amla, who played championship cricket for Essex in 2009, continues the South African trend at Surrey this year following his Test captain Graeme Smith, who was due to play for most of the season before an ankle injury curtailed his stay.
Executive director Alec Stewart told Surrey TV: “It’s been something I’ve been working on for a while since I got whispers that JP was going to be very much in the Champions League.
“Amla and Cricket South Africa have been quite outstanding in the way they’ve dealt with everything and we finally got clearance yesterday, which has meant we can announce it today.
“We’ve got a world-class batsman, someone who has got a tremendous record playing here at the Kia Oval and someone I hope will have an impact on the closing six championship matches.”
Amla added: "It is a great pleasure and honour to have been asked by Alec Stewart to play for Surrey County Cricket Club.
"The Kia Oval holds a lot of fond memories for me personally. I look forward to returning there this year and hopefully enjoying similar success."