Cape Town - The timing of Hashim Amla's decision to step down as Proteas captain was perhaps the most shocking element of Wednesday's announcement.
After the Proteas lost the first Test in Durban by a massive 241 runs, Amla re-emphasised that he was committed to the captaincy.
But on Wednesday, the 32-year-old revealed that doubts over whether or not he should be at the helm had begun working on his mind even before the England series began.
The decision appeared even more puzzling given that, thanks largely to Amla's double hundred, the Proteas showed signs of turning the corner as they fought their way to an inspiring draw in the second Test at Newlands.
This was not Amla's darkest hour as captain, and he could very easily have sat in the post-match presser and spoken about how the side was on the mend and moving in the right direction.
Instead, he resigned as captain.
"The decision has been purely based on that I think somebody else could do a better job," he said bluntly.
"I’ve always wanted to be somebody who leads from the front and I think throughout the captaincy I’ve managed to do that most of the time.
"It was just something I thought about, that crossed my mind and has been working on my mind. My leadership style … we have a very young team … I kind of felt that maybe somebody else would do a better job."
Amla says that poor performances with the bat and by the team were not the reason for him stepping down.
But if there were such major doubts, then why not make the decision before the England series to allow the side a fresh start at an appropriate time before a massive home series?
"It was quite a quick turnaround between the India and the English series … and I wasn’t quite ready at that stage," he offered, acknowledging that there was a temptation to hold off on the decision until after the England series.
"The temptation was there, but I’ve always said that as a player if you’re not good enough then you don’t play," he said.
"So if I feel that somebody else can add more value to the team as captain, then why wait and maybe be a hindrance to the guys for two more Tests? For me that makes sense."
Amla feels that the decision will not hurt the Proteas as they look to first level and then win the series in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
"I have chatted to a few of the guys in the team already before this, so I don’t think it’s a massive shock to some of the guys," he said.
"AB is very able and he’s a brilliant captain himself and we all follow a similar goal. For me, that’s the mark of a good team … that everybody is pulling in the same direction."
The third Test gets underway in Johannesburg on January 14.