Legendary South African umpire Rudi Koertzen passed away on Tuesday. The famous match official and three other people were killed in a head-on collision near Riversale.
The former South African cricket umpire Rudi Koertzen dies aged 73, on Tuesday in a car crash. South Africa Cricket Council has announced Koertzen’s death, but there were no details of the incident other than to say the well-known Umpire died in a car accident on Tuesday morning. Koertzen, umpiring in 1981, who was one of cricket’s most honoured umpires, stood in 108 Tests matches, a record 209 one-day internationals, and 14 T20s over an 18-year career. His 1st Test was during South Africa’s return to international cricket at home in 1992, after a 22-year ban because of apartheid, while he retired in 2010.
The cricket world is grieving the unfortunate passing of umpiring legend Rudi Koertzen in a car accident in South Africa. Koertzen, known as the ‘Slow Death’ as a result of the time it took for him to raise his finger to give a batsman out, was getting back to his home in the Eastern Cape region in the wake of playing in a golf competition when the accident occurred.
Koertzen was known for his unique method of giving a batter out, where he would slowly raise his left arm with his finger pointing at the batter. Koertzen once said in an interview, “I used to hold my hands in front of me, and every time there was an appeal, I would fold them against my ribs.”
“Then someone told me, ‘Rudi, you cannot do that. Always raise your hands to fold them; the bowler thinks you are above to give him a wicket.”
“So I started gripping my wrists at the back. The finger comes out slowly because I need to release my grasp at the back.”
The honoured official, who assumed responsibility for as many as 100 Test matches somewhere in the range of 1992 and 2010, was involved and engaged in a road traffic collision in South Africa.
The Cricket world is in shock over Rudi Koertzen’s passing. As a popular and admired person in cricket, the dearest Umpire was applauded by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). MCC is profoundly disheartened to learn of the passing of privileged life part and forenamed Umpire Rudi Koertzen.
The great Jacques Kallis of South Africa cricket tweeted:
Such sad news hearing the passing of umpire Rudi Koertzen. One of the gentlemen of the sport 🏏 RIP Oom Rudi.
— Jacques Kallis (@jacqueskallis75) August 9, 2022
As soon as this development surfaced, former India batter Virender Sehwag was among the first ones to pay his homage to the legendary umpire.
“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 (cont)
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 (cont) pic.twitter.com/CSxtjGmKE9
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 9, 2022
In another tweet, Sehwag said:
“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 pic.twitter.com/gdSHGOoYg8
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 9, 2022
Yuvraj Singh followed his former India teammate’s social media condolences. The tragic news of the sudden passing away of Rudi Koertzen. Yuvraj said,
“He was a gifted individual and one of the finest umpires the game has witnessed, known for his sharp decision-making abilities. My deepest condolences to his family and well-wishers.”
Tragic news of the sudden passing away of Rudi Koertzen. He was a gifted individual and one of the finest umpires the game has witnessed, known for his sharp decision making abilities.
— Yuvraj Singh (@YUVSTRONG12) August 9, 2022
Sri Lanka great cricketer Kumar Sangakkara posted:
Saddened at the tragic loss of Rudi Koertzen. What a wonderful friend and Umpire. Honesty and I loved the game. It was a pleasure to talk cricket with him over a few beers at the bar. As a friend, I would like to say RIP.
Saddened at the tragic loss of Rudi Koertzen. What a wonderful friend and umpire. Honest, forthright and loved the game. Shared many a beer at the bar talking cricket with him. RIP my friend.
— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) August 9, 2022
Younis, a former Pakistan bowler and coach wrote:
“RIP to one of the greatest umpires in the world, Rudi Koertzen. Condolences to the family and friends.
— Waqar Younis (@waqyounis99) August 9, 2022
Pakistan former captain Wasim Akram tweeted,
“I’m disheartened to catch wind of the unexpected passing of Umpire Rudi Koertzen. He was the forthright and knowledgeable Umpire. I shared some wonderful moments with him both on and off the field. My deepest condolences to the family, RIP.”
Saddened to know about the sudden demise of umpire Rudi Koertzen he was , forthright and knowledgeable umpire had shared some wonderful moments with him on and off the field . My deepest condolences to the family. RIP .
— Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) August 9, 2022
Cricket South Africa chief executive Pholetsi Moseki said:
“The passing of this titan is a sad loss for the game.”
Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar, who has since outperformed Koertzen’s record for most worldwide matches directed, depicted Koertzen’s demise as
“an extremely large misfortune, I remained in such countless games with him,” said Dar.
“He was awesome as an umpire as well as a superb partner, in every case extremely agreeable on the field and furthermore continuously able to assist with off the field. In view of how he was, he was also well-respected by players.”
Koertzen had officiated in his first international match in 1992.
In 1997, he was then appointed as a full-time International Cricket Council (ICC) umpire. He had become the second umpire after Steve Bucknor, to officiate in more than 200 ODIs and 100 Tests.
He had also acted as the third umpire in the 2003 and 2007 World Cup finals. He brought curtains on his umpiring career in 2010. His last match as an umpire was the Test between Australia and Pakistan.