Graeme Smith stunned South Africa on Monday by announcing he will retire from international cricket at the end of the ongoing third test against Australia at Newlands.
The Proteas captain told team mates after the third day's play, catching all unaware, including Cricket South Africa (CSA) chiefs.
"This has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make in my life. It's a decision that I have been considering since my ankle surgery in April last year," Smith, 33, said in a statement released by CSA.
"I have a young family to consider, and I felt that retiring at Newlands would be the best way to end it because I have called this place home since I was 18 years-old."
Smith is a veteran of 117 tests, 109 of those as captain.
In the lead-up to the series-deciding third test against Australia, Smith had spoken of still wanting to achieve milestones in the game but having managed 42 runs in five innings in the series, his form has been wretched.