Former ICC Elite Panel umpire Rudi Koertzen dies in road accident

Rudi Koertzen is one of the three umpires in Test cricket history to have officiated in more than 100 matches

The cricket fraternity received shocking news on Tuesday as South African umpire and a former member of the ICC Elite Panel of umpires, Rudi Koertzen, died in a road accident. The 73-year-old died while driving from Cape Town to Despatch in Eastern Cape in South Africa — where he lived with his family — according to reports in the media.

The news of the passing away of one of cricket’s most respected and iconic umpires was confirmed by his son Rudi Koertzen Jr.

“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,”

his son was quoted as saying by Algoa FM News, a South African website, according to ESPNCricinfo. 

Rudi Koertzen was a part of the ICC Elite Panel of umpires from 2002 for the next 8 years and officiated in a total of 331 international matches. He retired in 2010 and at that time, his number of matches officiated was a record, which was broken by Pakistan’s Aleem Dar. 

Rudi Koertzen was also famously called ‘Slow Death’ for the way he would slowly bring out the finger to adjudge a batsman out. His way was peculiar and also pretty entertaining for the cricket fans. 

The 73-year-old is one of the three umpires in the history of Test cricket to have officiated in over 100 matches, with former West Indies umpire Steve Bucknor and Aleem Dar being the other two. 

Aleem Dar said,

”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.”