Cape Town - Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith believes that it is not possible to replace the now-retired AB de Villiers.
De Villiers stunned the cricketing world when he announced last week that he had immediately retired from all international cricket.
It came as a major blow to South Africa's 2019 World Cup hopes, and the Proteas brains trust will now have to go into that tournament without their biggest weapon.
For Smith, it is not possible to replace De Villiers.
"I thought definitely he would retire after the 2019 World Cup. But when he made his comeback and did so well in the home summer in South Africa, had a really good IPL, I didn't even think about it," Smith told Cricbuzz.
"To lose a player like AB, he's irreplaceable.
"There are also quality players there but it's like taking Virat Kohli out of the Indian team.
"SA lose an X-factor player, who can single-handedly win you a game."
The 2019 World Cup gets underway next May.