Hashim Amla said on Wednesday he was stepping aside as South Africa’s cricket Test captain with immediate effect, a day after a double century rescued his country from possible defeat in the second Test against England.
AB de Villiers will take over the reigns for the remainder of the England series.
The 32-year-old made the surprise announcement just minutes after the Test at Newlands ended in a draw and after Amla had led a fight back to haul his team from a precarious position.
"Naturally this decision is not an easy one but the more I think about it the more I believe I can be of greater value to the Proteas as a fully focused batsman and senior player at this time or rebuilding our team," he told reporters on Wednesday.
"I am deeply grateful and privileged to have been the Test captain and I wish to thank Cricket South Africa for the honour of captaining my country. It was enjoyable and indeed a great learning experience.
"I kind of felt someone else could do a better job. I made my decision two weeks before the first Test against England," Amla added.
The Durban-born batsman, who made his debut against India in 2004, is a veteran of 90-Tests and has scored over 7,000 runs in the longest format of the sport.
"We respect Hashim’s decision and the manner in which he thought about it and then communicated with me," Cricket South Africa chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat said.
"He still has a huge role to play in shaping the success of our team without the need for a leadership title. He is just that type of a person and we are very fortunate to have him in our stable."
Image: South Africa's captain Hashim Amla
Photograph: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters