Marcus Trescothick understands why Andrew Strauss felt it was the right time to give up the England Test captaincy and retire.
Strauss, who opened alongside Trescothick at the start of his Test career, confirmed he was quitting professional cricket at a Lord's press conference on Wednesday.
He cited his batting form as a major factor in the decision, which comes after England relinquished top spot in the Test rankings to South Africa with a 2-0 series loss this summer.
Trescothick, who has focused on leading Somerset since a stress-related illness ended his England career in 2006, underlined the importance of a captain's own contributions.
"It is a little bit of a surprise that it has come quite this soon," Trescothick told Sky Sports News.
"I'm not surprised he has finished with all forms of the game, as he said he wanted to go out at the top and on his terms. He's obviously had enough and the time is right for him.
"You want to go out there and perform and lead from the front, doing the work and winning games for the team.
"When you are asking a lot from the players and the squad - putting their bodies on the line - you have to be leading from the front. It is clear that has played on his mind.
"He said himself he hasn't produced the performances he would have liked to have done over the last six months. It's going to leave a bit of a hole for them to try and fill."
Strauss led England in exactly half of his 100 Tests, his 24 wins as skipper is second only to Michael Vaughan and includes Ashes wins at home and away plus a year-long reign at the top of the rankings.
"I think that's what people will look back on," said Trescothick. "How he's taken the team forward, how he's taken English cricket in general forward. He's done a great job."
With Alastair Cook adding the Test captaincy to the ODI role he has done since the last World Cup, there is now a vacancy alongside Cook at the top of the order for the tour of India in November.
Trescothick highlighted several potential replacements for Strauss on the county scene.
"It's going to a tough decision. Should they go for a young guy, you are looking at Joe Root potentially," said the Somerset captain.
"Then it's going to be hard to give them a bit of time because England go to India next, one of the hardest places to tour.
"Nick Compton here has had a great season, Michael Carberry has had opportunities in the past.
"Whether they keep it in hand - Jonathan Trott or Ian Bell could move up, we'll have to wait and see."