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Hashim Amla has dramatically resigned as South Africa captain mid-way through the four-match Test series against England. AB de Villiers will lead The Proteas through the remainder of the series before a long-term skipper is appointed.
The announcement came after Amla had scored 201 as South Africa drew with England in the second Test in Cape Town to leave the tourists 1-0 up heading to the games at the Wanderers and Centurion. The third Test in Johannesburg begins on Thursday 14 January.
In 14 Tests since succeeding Graeme Smith, Amla won four, drew six and lost four games in charge of the world number one-ranked test nation. South Africa won the first three series under his guidance but a failure to beat Bangladesh and a 3-0 thumping by India late in 2015 saw his position come under pressure.
Despite the heavy defeat in Durban in the first Test against England, the timing of the decision comes as a significant shock. The 32-year-old says he reached the decision a fortnight ago and remains committed to playing international cricket in all forms of the game.
"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 of rebuilding our team" said Amla in an announcement after the close of play at Newlands, according to the South Africa Cricket website.
"I am deeply grateful and privileged to have been the Test captain and I wish to thank CSA for the honour of captaining my country. It was enjoyable and indeed a great learning experience.
"Throughout my time as captain, whether in good times or tough times, I've always had the full support of my team-mates, coaching staff and management. I want to acknowledge this superb group of people for always being there and for supporting me wholeheartedly."