Cricket: Former umpire Rudi Koertzen passes away at 73
Rudi Koertzen, one of the greatest umpires to officiate in international cricket, passed away, aged 73, on Tuesday. As per a report in ESPNcricinfo, the former South African umpire died in a car accident while driving from Cape Town to Despatch. He lived with his family in Eastern Cape in South Africa. Notably, Koertzen officiated in a record 331 international matches.
As stated, Koertzen officiated in a total of 331 matches across formats between 1992 and 2010. He held the record for serving as an on-field umpire in most international games at the time of his retirement. Even now, he occupies the second spot on the all-time list. Koertzen is only behind Pakistan's Aleem Dar in this regard (420).
Koertzen remains one of only three umpires to officiate in over 100 Test matches (108). The former South African umpire is only behind Dar (140) and West Indies' Steve Bucknor (128) on this list.
"It is a big loss for his family and then for South Africa and cricket. I stood in many games with him. He was not only very good as an umpire but also an excellent colleague, always very cooperative on field and also always willing to help off the field. Because of the way he was, he was also well-respected by players," said Dar.
Koertzen first officiated in 1992/93 during India's tour of South Africa. He went on to stand in 108 Tests, 209 ODIs, and 14 T20Is (66 internationals as TV Umpire). In 1999, he refused a bribe to manipulate a match between West Indies and India in Singapore. Koertzen drew criticism for misinterpreting the rules regarding bad light during the 2007 World Cup final in Barbados.
Koertzen last stood in a competitive game during IPL 2011 (Royal Challenger Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings in Bengaluru). Notably, he had been officiating in some matches in Despatch, his hometown, of late. Besides, he also helped the Despatch Cricket Club in the preparation of pitches. As per ESPNcricinfo, Koertzen played top-division club cricket in Kimberley before venturing into umpiring.