Johannesburg [South Africa], August 9 (ANI): 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.
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.
Paying tribute to Koertzen's contribution to cricket, CSA Chief Executive Officer, Pholetsi Moseki said in a statement:
"The passing of this titan is a sad loss for the game. Koertzen's contribution to Umpiring, to which he spent the better part of his life speaks volumes about his selfless dedication and commitment."
"With his demise, another curtain of a rich legacy has fallen, but will never be forgotten. In his honour, let's decree to embody his passion for umpiring and unearth a crop of umpires who will carry the fortunes of the game into the future."
CSA Board Chairperson, Lawson Naidoo said: "Rudi departs at the time when cricket is beginning to enjoy the fruit of his toil. His passing has robbed us of a giant upon his foundation we now stand."
"While this is a sad day for cricket in South Africa, we are however comforted by the many lessons of servitude and servant leadership he has left behind for us to embody and emulate."
"On behalf of the Cricket South Board, I send my sincere condolences to Rudi's family and the many people whom he has touched," he concluded. (ANI)