AB de Villiers says he fooled himself into thinking he could continue to manage a clutch of fitness problems as he prepares to miss a Test due to injury for the first time in his career.
The South Africa captain, who made his debut in 2004, will be sidelined for the two-match series against New Zealand, which starts in Durban on Friday.
An elbow problem was officially cited as the reason for De Villiers taking a rare break, but the 32-year-old Proteas skipper has revealed more than one injury is to blame for his absence.
"I have five to six niggles at the moment, including the shoulder that everybody knows about which started about eight months ago," he was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
"I have been hanging in there. I did fool myself a bit in thinking that I could just keep going and keep going and it has sort of caught up with me a bit.
"It's a big shame that I am losing out [on] a few Test matches. Unfortunately it's happened that way. It caught me like a thief in the night. This was not part of the plan."
De Villiers continues to play for South Africa in all three forms of the game and has given no indication he plans to reduce his availability in an attempt to prolong his career.
"I love playing for my country and I would love to play as long as I can," he said.
"You've got to look after your body sometimes and that's happening with the six weeks now.
"Hopefully after this New Zealand series I will be ready to go and will tackle the Aussies in October.
"There's a game against Ireland in seven weeks' time. That's a good time to test where I am physically."