Former South Africa batsman Hashim Amla has signed a two-year Kolpak deal with Surrey.

The prolific batsman retired from international cricket in August and has since been linked with a return to The Oval - where he spent spells in 2013 and 2014.

Surrey on Tuesday confirmed the 36-year-old, South Africa's second-highest Test run scorer, will join Morne Morkel at the county for the next two seasons.

Amla said: "Surrey are one of the most established and accomplished cricket clubs in the world and I am very excited to be joining them again while also not forgetting the opportunity to play alongside my good friend Morne Morkel again.

"I was part of the Surrey team in 2013 and 2014 and thoroughly enjoyed myself during those stints, so to rekindle that relationship for a longer period is something that excites me.

"I'm really looking forward to working with Alec Stewart and the rest of his team."

Surrey director of cricket Stewart added: "With several of our players now in or around the international set-up, the opportunity to bring Hashim back to Surrey was too good to ignore.

"His record speaks for itself and we know from his previous spells here that he will be an excellent resource for all of our players to learn from both on and off the field."

South Africa batsman Hashim Amla has announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect.

Amla played 349 matches for the Proteas across all three formats in a stellar 15-year career, but on Thursday called time on his international career at the age of 36.

The classy right-hander will still be available to play domestic cricket in his homeland, but his Cricket World Cup appearance against Sri Lanka in June will be his last for South Africa.

Amla has been one of the best batsmen of his generation, scoring in excess of 18,000 runs for his country - including 55 centuries and 88 scores of 50 or more.

He said in a statement released by Cricket South Africa: "Firstly, all glory and thanks to the Almighty for granting me this Proteas journey which has been nothing but a joy and privilege.

"I learnt many lessons during this incredible ride, made many friends and most importantly shared in the love of a brotherhood called #proteafire.

"I would like to thank my parents for their prayers, love and support, it is their shadow over me that enabled me to play for years under the Protea sun.

"Also, My family, friends and agent, my team-mates and every member of the support staff throughout this incredible journey. A heartfelt thank you to every one of you.

"The fans for energising me when times were tough, and for celebrating with me when we succeeded together. Siyabonga South Africa.

"And, of course, a very special thanks to the President and the Board at Cricket South Africa - not forgetting the Chief Executive, Mr Thabang Moroe, and his administrative team. I really appreciate all the opportunities and am truly grateful.

"Love and peace."

Moroe paid tribute to the former Proteas captain, who was name South Africa Cricketer of the Year in 2010 and 2013.

"It is always sad to bid farewell to one of the true legends of the game, but at the same time this is rather an occasion to celebrate the richness that Hashim has brought to the game around the world both on and off the field." Moroe said.

"His humility has always been his standout quality and I cannot imagine a better role model to teach us all how to lead better lives. He has added great value not only to the Proteas but to the country at large.

"I am sure cricket players, administrators, the media and fans from around the world will join the CSA Family in congratulating Hashim on a job well done and to wish him all the best for the future.

"We can indeed be grateful that he remains available for our domestic cricket and will continue to contribute by passing on his rich cricket and life experiences to our next generation of players."

South Africa opener Hashim Amla was forced to retire hurt having taken a nasty blow to the helmet grille as his team tried to secure victory against England in the opening game of the Cricket World Cup.

The Proteas, chasing 312 to beat the tournament hosts at The Oval, suffered an early setback when Amla came off in the fourth over after a vicious short ball from England seamer Jofra Archer reared up and struck him.

Amla initially called for a new helmet to be brought to him from the dressing room but, after further inspection out in the middle, he left the field while rubbing his head and Aiden Markram came out to join Quinton de Kock.

South Africa were 14 without loss at the time, with Amla having made five from eight balls.

Markram lasted just 12 deliveries and was dismissed for 11 when he edged Archer to Joe Root at slip.

Ottis Gibson has no concerns over South Africa's top order ahead of the Test series against Pakistan after the likes of Hashim Amla endured a torrid time in Sri Lanka.

Amla, Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram failed in a 2-0 Test series whitewash against Sri Lanka in July.

Proteas head coach Gibson is confident the trio can put that behind them in a three-match series against Mickey Arthur's side, which gets under way on December 26.

There is no concern with regards to them," said Gibson. "What happened in Sri Lanka has no relevance here even though Pakistan may choose spinners. Here in South Africa‚ wickets don't spin as much as they do in Sri Lanka.

"Aiden scored 1,000 runs last year and he is back in familiar home conditions. With regards to Dean‚ he is an absolute street fighter. He is always close to hitting a double-hundred and that is fantastic." said Gibson.

"Coming to Hash [Amla]‚ he has been carrying niggles that have not allowed him to do the things that he wanted to do.

"For him, it is to get back to the nets and work on the things that he needs to work on‚ but he is an experienced player for us.

"He has had dips in form but he knows what he needs to do. I have spoken to him since I arrived in the country on Wednesday night and he will be desperate to get back into action. I have no concerns about them."

Pakistan head coach Arthur feels his batsmen can be more effective outside of the United Arab Emirates as they attempt to show a positive response to a series loss to New Zealand.

"I'll make a statement now, that our young batting group now bat better outside the UAE than they do in the UAE." said the former South Africa head coach.

"There's some very talented young batsmen there. They don't stand on leg stump anymore. Our batsmen get to off stump, they cover the bounce, they cover the pace and they cover the swing.

"And they play very well in these conditions."

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