South African captain Hashim Amla hit the winning runs on the fifth day of the third and final Test against the West Indies at Newlands before collecting the International Cricket Council mace and a $500,000 cheque for the world champion Test team.
He then looked ahead to what he expects to be a challenging year, with the retirement of Alviro Petersen on Tuesday opening up a gap in the batting order.
Amla finished on 38 not out as South Africa won by eight wickets to clinch a 2-0 series triumph, which he admitted had been expected against the world's eighth-ranked side.
He was named man of the series after scoring 342 runs at an average of 114.00.
Opener Petersen announced his retirement from international cricket immediately after the win in Cape Town.
Petersen, 34, said he wanted "to move on with his career" and will play English county cricket and for the Johannesburg-based Lions for the next three years.
Petersen played 36 Tests from 2010, scoring 2,093 runs at an average of 34.88 with five centuries, but has struggled for form recently.
"The last couple of months were really frustrating as I felt my form was there but I would like to have scored more runs," he told a news conference.
Petersen, who also played for South Africa in limited-overs formats, managed just 86 runs in four innings in the three-Test series against the West Indies.
With tours to Bangladesh and India later this year, followed by a four-Test home series against England, Amla said tougher challenges lay ahead.
"The team is developing. It has probably been a good move for some of the younger players to make their debuts and get a feel of Test cricket in a year when we will be playing against really good opposition,” he said.
Amla said that he was well aware that the match-winning pace trio of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel could not carry on playing indefinitely.
"I think about it all the time. It is not often you are blessed with three bowlers of their calibre. Like with the batters, where we have lost two colossal players (Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis) we have to start looking at the next guys to take over. They can't go on forever."
Amla has led South Africa to four wins in six Tests, including an away series win against Sri Lanka, since taking over from Smith.