New Delhi [India], August 10 (ANI): Cricketers across the world expressed their grief and shock at the passing of former international umpire Rudi Koertzen, who passed away on Tuesday after succumbing to injuries sustained in a car accident.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced that former international umpire Rudi Koertzen passed away at 73 after succumbing to injuries sustained in a car accident on Tuesday morning.
"Rudi Koertzen officiated in 331 international matches, the second-most by any umpire. Farewell to one of the earliest members of the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires," tweeted ICC.
Recalling his first meeting with Koertzen, Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar also tweeted, "I first met Rudi in 1992 & we became good friends over the years. He was a warm-hearted person who always greeted players with a big smile. He commanded respect from one & all. My heartfelt condolences to his loved ones. He'll be dearly missed."
Legendary South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis expressed his sadness at the passing of Koertzen.
"Such sad news hearing the passing of umpire Rudi Koertzen. One of the gentlemen of the sport RIP Oom Rudi," he tweeted.
Legendary Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist also paid tribute to the South African umpire, tweeting, "Two moments in my career I'm most often asked about. Quick ton v England in Perth and walking in WCup Semi v SL. Umpire on both occasions was Rudi Koertzen. Iconic figure in the game. A great umpire and great friend. RIP mate."
Legendary Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakara also said in a tweet, "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."
England all-rounder and legend Ian Botham paid tributes to Koertzen in a tweet as well.
"Rudi Koertzen was a very competent umpire who loved his job and the game of cricket. He was a wonderful gentleman on and off the field of play. Really saddened to hear the news of his passing. Condolences to his family and friends #OneOfTheGreatUmpires #CricketFamily," he tweeted.
Pakistan fast-bowling legend Waqar Younis also paid tributes to the great umpire tweeting, "RIP to one of the best Umpire in the World Rudi Koertzen. I always enjoyed bowling from his end. Condolences to the family and friends #RipRudi."
Legendary Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh also said in a tweet, "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. My deepest condolences to his family and well wishers #RudiKoertzen"
Born on 26 March 1949 in Knysna, Western Cape province, Koertzen made his Test debut in 1992 in the Boxing Day Test match between South Africa and India at Port Elizabeth. He went on to enjoy an 18-year career at top-level umpiring in which he stood in 108 Tests, a record 209 ODIs and 14 T20Is, achieving the revered international status of ICC's Emirates Elite Panel umpire.
Famed for his slow arm raise to give out batters, Koertzen singled out standing in the opening match of the 1999 World Cup between England and Sri Lanka as his fondest memory.
Koertzen announced his decision to retire from umpiring on 4 June 2010. He stood in his final ODI on 9 June 2010, between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka at Harare, and in his final Test from 21-24 July 2010, between Pakistan and Australia at Leeds. (ANI)