Tributes continue to pour in for iconic elite panel umpire Rudi Koertzen, who passed away on August 9 in a car accident in Riversdale, South Africa.
The South African officiated in 331 matches, the second highest by any umpire in international cricket, in a career spanning more than 20 years. He was appointed as a full-time ICC umpire in 1997 and was one of the first members of the Emirates Elite Panel of Umpires.
Australian umpire Rod Tucker said Koertzen’s no-nonsense manner was something all players and colleagues respected.
“Rudi was an iconic elite panel umpire. He was such a strong figure on and off the field. His no-nonsense manner was enjoyed by the players and his colleagues. My first Test on field was with Rudi in New Zealand, and he helped make it an easier experience. In umpiring, we say that some colleagues make you feel safe. In other words, you are working as a team. Rudi made you feel safe as he had any issues under control,” said Tucker.
“Off the field, he was great fun and always up for a laugh and some fun. He was a great umpire and friend, and will be sorely missed by all of us. RIP Rudi,” he added.
South African umpire Marais Erasmus said Koertzen was a well-respected person on and off the field.
“Rudi Koertzen was the epitome of strong. Well-respected by all and also loved by all. A no-nonsense guy that lived and umpired in the same way. A great loss,” said Erasmus, while Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar said it was a huge loss to the umpiring fraternity.
“It is a very big loss for his family and South African cricket. I stood in so many games with him. He was very good as an umpire, and a nice colleague, always very cooperative on-field and willing to help off the field. He was well respected amongst the players,” said Dar.
Former South African umpire Vincent van der Bijl said, “Rudi was a wonderful umpire and human being. He was one of the best umpires in the world in his prime. On-field he was strong, courageous and definite — as importantly, he was a great team man.
“Teamwork in the match officials’ team was considered one of the most important qualities and that made him so popular and admired amongst colleagues and players. His laugh and humour will also be greatly missed by all he knew. World and South Africa cricket have lost a special person.”