LONDON: Hashim Amla, one of South Africa’s greatest batters, has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, after confirming to Surrey that he will not be returning to help defend the County Championship title that the club secured in his final season as a player in 2022. In the course of a two-decade career, Amla, 39, scored 34,104 runs across all professional formats – 9,282 of which came in his 124 Test appearances between 2004 and 2019, second only to Jacques Kallis for his country. This included 28 hundreds and a best of 311 not out against England at the Kia Oval in 2012, which was also South Africa’s first triple-century in Tests. He scored a further 8113 runs including 27 hundreds in 181 ODIs, and 1,277 runs in 44 T20Is, and has already embarked on a coaching career, with a stint as MI Cape Town’s batting coach in the ongoing SA20. It is understood he could be in the running to become South Africa’s batting coach, under the country’s new coaching structure. Amla retired from international cricket at the conclusion of South Africa’s World Cup campaign in 2019, having bowed out of Test cricket against Sri Lanka at Gqeberha in February that year. He rejoined Surrey later that year, having also represented the county as an overseas player in 2013 and 2014, and after stints with Derbyshire, Hampshire, Nottinghamshire and Essex. He also represented Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, as well as Kwa-Zulu Natal, Dolphins and Cape Cobras in South Africa’s domestic competitions. Even in the twilight of his career, Amla’s impact was plain to see in his final two seasons at Surrey, in which he contributed five more centuries including a best of 215 not out against Hampshire in 2021, and provided crucial support to captain Rory Burns as a senior figure in the dressing-room “I have great memories of the Oval ground and to finally leave it as a player fills me with immense gratitude for what has been,” Amla said. “A sincere thank you to Alec Stewart and the entire Surrey staff, players and Members for their support. The Surrey ship runs so professionally that it would make any international player feel a sense of honour just to be involved with. “I wish them all the best and many more trophies.” Stewart, who has worked with Amla throughout his spells at Surrey, described Amla as a “true professional and a great of the game”.