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Smith ready for Surrey start

Graeme Smith is looking forward to playing a big part in a successful County Championship season for Surrey.

Smith feels like he owes the club something after his first season at the Kia Oval was cut short by injury.

Much has changed for him and the county since, with Smith retiring from international cricket earlier this year and his former international coach Graham Ford taking the reins in south London.

And Smith feels Ford is the right man to lead Surrey back to Division One after their relegation in 2013 in their first season back in the top division.

"It's good to be back at Surrey," Smith told Sky Sports. "The guys have been so good to me here. Obviously last year I arrived with a stress fracture, unbeknown to me, and it cut my season short.

"I'm looking forward to hopefully being here the whole season and making it count.

"We want to put in good performances. It's always about the cricket and there's a nice young group of guys here. The coaching structures have changed since last year if we can put in some wins, get some results and start moving forward we'll be happy.

"I'm looking forward to working with Fordy. I started my international career with him as coach. He's a good, humble, hard-working guy who creates good environments and I think he'll be the right man for the club and the right man to take us forward."

Smith will be playing alongside Kevin Pietersen at some point during the summer and he admits to still being mystified why England could not find a way to work with the 34-year-old, who quit international cricket after the Ashes series in Australia.

"I'm uninformed just speaking from an outsider's perspective, but it would be surprising when you have a really quality player like that, and you wouldn't try to make it work," Smith added.

"He's in the middle of his career, has a few good years left in him. If there's a guy in his last two seasons and he's becoming grumpy, then you start to look at things differently.

"But Kevin's still got plenty of energy, he's fit, healthy and still performing well: it was surprising. I think it's always disappointing when those things [confidentiality agreements] start getting in the way of cricket.

"I would have thought the environment could have managed him."

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