Wandsworth cricketer and former skipper of Surrey County Cricket Club Rory Hamilton-Brown has described the loss of his best friend Tom Maynard as "indescribably painful".
The 25-year-old batsman was talking after it was confirmed he was returning to Sussex on a three-year deal.
Hamilton-Brown requested a termination to his contract at the Kia Oval last week on the back of a prolonged absense on compassionate grounds after Maynard's death in June.
During his time at the Kia Oval, Hamilton-Brown led Surrey to promotion to Division One and the Clydesdale Bank 40 title in 2011, scoring 4,166 runs in all competitions and taking 21 wickets.
He said: “I would like to thank Surrey for the opportunity they gave me to captain such an illustrious club at such a young age.
"At times it was very tough but I am immensely proud of what I achieved there, both as a captain and a player and specifically leading a special bunch of players to promotion and CB40 success.
"Losing my best friend Tom in June was indescribably painful. We were extremely close but ultimately I know I will emerge from this awful tragedy with renewed strength and purpose.
"I am delighted to be returning to Sussex, a club where I was previously very happy. I would like to thank Mark Robinson, his coaching staff, the players, management and Board at Sussex for
welcoming me back so warmly.
"There is nothing like feeling wanted to raise spirits and I fully intend to repay the confidence they have shown in me."
In his previous stint at the PROBIZ County Ground in Hove in 2008 and 2009, the former England U19 star played seven first-class matches, 28 List A games and 25 T20 games, scoring 1,204
runs and taking 39 wickets across all formats in the process.
In his final season, he helped Sussex to a one-day double in 2009 when the Sharks were victorious in both the T20 Cup and Division One of the Pro40 competition, before joining Surrey for the start
of the 2010 season.