Graeme Smith's stint with Surrey is over for now as he is returning home to South Africa to have surgery on a troublesome ankle injury.
Smith has been struggling with the problem for some time and has taken the decision to have an operation after a scan in London on Wednesday.
There is no timescale for his return to action, but with Surrey suggesting he will miss 'a few months of the County season, Smith's participation in the ICC Champions Trophy in England next month has to be doubtful.
The injury was already being termed as 'chronic' as far back as March when he missed South Africa's fifth one-day international against Pakistan.
Smith still honoured his contract with Surrey, which is due to run over the next three seasons, but he had struggled for runs in the early part of the County Championship season.
His last innings, a YB40 knock of 74 against Hampshire, was the best of the four games he played in England, although he only totalled five runs in three first-innings efforts in Division One.
Smith told Surrey's official website: "To have to head home now, so early in my time at Surrey is very frustrating but I leave the team in a good place and hope to be back with them as soon as possible."
Team director Chris Adams added: "Graeme has made an impressive start as a leader and the squad have really responded to his leadership. It's clearly disappointing for all, especially Graeme, but we wish him a speedy recovery."