Hashim Amla stepped down as South Africa's Test captain because he felt there were other candidates better suited to leading the team.
Amla announced his decision to relinquish the captaincy after the Proteas earned a draw with England in the second Test in Cape Town on Wednesday.
While the news was greeted with surprise, Amla revealed the call had been made at least two weeks ago and had been discussed at length with his team-mates and management.
AB de Villiers was handed the role for the remaining two matches of the series and Amla backed the 31-year-old to be a success.
"Captaining your country is probably the pinnacle of anybody's ambition, [but] I felt someone else could do a better job," he said.
"I am surprised people have suggested it wasn't my decision, because you don't look like me in this world without being firm in what you want to do.
"I've always wanted to be somebody who leads from the front and I think throughout my captaincy I've been able to do that most of the time.
"Everyone goes through a patch without many runs, but that's part of any captain's life. I feel my leadership style - for a young team like this - I gave it my best shot and I thoroughly enjoyed it."
Amla recorded his fourth Test double-century in the match at Newlands, which was curtailed by bad light and rain.