Rudi Koertzen, former ICC Elite umpire, dies in car crash

Rudi Koertzen Dies
Rudi Koertzen Dies

Rudi Koertzen Dies, the former international cricket umpire, has died in a car crash. He was 73. Koertzen, who was known for his slow raise of the finger, along with three other people suffered a head on collision near Riverdale, his son, Rudi Koertzen Jr. confirmed. Koertzen was on his way back after playing golf at the Nelson Mandela Bay when the tragic incident took place.

Rudi Koertzen Dies

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

Koertzen, who took up umpiring in the year 1981 and stood in his first international match back in 1992 between India and South Africa at Port Elizabeth, went on to officiate in 331 international matches, a record that stool tall until he retired in the year 2010. He became just the second umpire in history to officiate more than 150 ODIs after the legendary David Shepherd, and was also the second to stand in 200 Tests after Steve Bucknor. One of the original members of the original members of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires in 2022.

Aleem Dar, who would break Koertzen’s record of umpiring in most international matches paid a heartfelt tribute to his former colleague. “It is a very big loss foremost for his family and then for South Africa and cricket. I stood in so 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,” he said.

Marais Erasmus, the former South African umpire said: “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 a learnt a lot from him.”

The last official match in which Koertzen served as during IPL 2011 between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings at the Chinnaswamy. The Despatch Cricket Club, which Koertzen was a respected member of and a club he helped till the very end, paid a heartwarming tribute to the legend.

“A legend in his own right passed away this morning and will definitely leave a great void in the cricket world. We want to express our heartfelt sympathy and empathy to Uncle Rudi Koertzen’s family and loved ones,” it said, as reported by ESPNCricinfo. Rudi Koertzen Dies