World Cricket mourns the loss of Rudi Koertzen

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Who doesn’t knew that man! Rudi Koertzen! He indeed has been one of most popular face in World Cricket’s Umpiring history! The South African passed away, keeping behind the entire fraternity in shock.

The 73 year old Koertzen was on his way back to home after a golf match, from Cape Town. He was among the four who died due to a head on collision, according to a local news report. The crash took place on Tuesday’s morning in South Africa’s Riversdale area.

His son, Rudi Koertzen Jr informed the Algoa FM News,

“He went on a golf tournament with some of his friend, and they were expected to come back on Monday, but it seems they decided to play another round of golf.”

News of Koertzen’s demise broke out on Tuesday morning. The news was shown when South Africa’s men came in Canterbury to play they four day warm up match. It was the first morning, and boys came wearing black armbands.

Cricket South Africa said in an statement,

“Koertzen’s status as a legend of the game will live on for ever.”

Rudi Koertzen, the record maker with the hat

The first ODI Koertzen officiated was on 9 December 1999. The first Test match he stood was from 26th to 29th December, in 1992. Both matches were played by India against South Africa at Port Elizabeth. In the first series, television replays can be used to take the run-out decisions. Koertzen soon became popular for being late to declare “out” to a batsman.

In 1997, Koertzen got the tag of a full time ICC umpire. His name was there in Elite Panel’s list as an original member, since its foundation (2002).

He stood in a record 209 ODIs. Not only that, he officiated in 108 test. His name stood right next to Steve Bucknor to officiate 100 Test. Koertzen’s 100th Test was Lords. It was the 2009 second Test match in the Ashes Series on 16th July, 2009.

Koertzen served the 2003 and 2007 Cricket World Cups too. The finals saw him as a third umpire, while in the semis, he stood as an on field one. Moreover, he also stood in both 2004 and 2006 ICC Champions Trophy as an on field Umpire. He even did his umpiring in the ICC Super Series. It was in 2005, where Australia played against World XI. However, great names like Simon Taufel, Aleem Dar and Darell Hair was a part of it.

Jersey too white to be stained by bribes

Koertzen was way too professional to be stained with fabrications . In September 1999, he received appraisals for refusing bribes. It was the final of the Coca-Cola Singapore Challenge between the West Indies and India where he was asked to take bribes to fix the outcome, but he refused.

However, the 2007 World Cup final, put a black spot in his career. Koertzen served as the third umpire in that match in Barbados. ICC criticized as well as penalized officials due to a chaotic finish to the game.

Post Retirement

On 4 June 2010, Koertzen stood in his last International ODI on 9th June. Moreover, his Last Test was between Pakistan and Australia at the Leeds from 21st to 24th July 2010.

Post retirement, Koertzen published a book, Slow Death: Memoirs of a Cricket Umpire (with Chris Schoeman). There, he mentioned about the 2007 World Cup final. Koertzen became popular with his the nickname “Slow Death”. He got this being late to raise his finger while declaring out to a batter.

However, Koertzen officiated in an IPL match between Royal Challenger Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings. It was at Bengaluru, in 2011.

Moreover, at the time of his death, he stood in a few games in his hometown of Despatch. He helped his local club, Despatch Cricket Club, with preparing pitches.


Cricket South Africa chairperson Lawson Naidoo said:

“Rudi departs at the time when cricket is beginning to enjoy the fruit of his toil. His passing has robbed us of a giant upon [whose] foundation we now stand.

“While this is a sad day for cricket in South Africa, we are however comforted by the many lessons of servitude and servant leadership he has left behind for us to embody and emulate.”

Cricketers from all corners have expressed their condolences for Rudi Koertzen through their social media platforms. All his fellow umpires did paid their tribute.

South African umpire Marais Erasmus expressed his condolences too.

“Rudi was such a strong character, physically and mentally. He paved the way for South African umpires to get to the world stage. Made us all believe it’s possible. A true legend. As a young umpire, I learnt a lot from him.”

A gentleman and a very wonderful person: Shewag on Koertzen

Indian veteran player Virender Sehwag, paid an emotional tribute to Koertzen. Shewag tweeted in series,

“Vale Rudi Koertzen ! Om Shanti. Condolences to his family.”

“Had a great relation with him. Whenever I used to play a rash shot, he used to scold me saying, “Play sensibly, I want to watch your batting”.

“One he wanted to buy a particular brand of cricket pads for his son.”

“And enquired about it from me. I gifted him and he was so grateful . A gentleman and a very wonderful person. Will miss you Rudi. Om Shanti.”

“And enquired about it from me. I gifted him and he was so grateful . A gentleman and a very wonderful person. Will miss you Rudi. Om Shanti.”

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