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'An iconic elite panel umpire' – Colleagues pay tribute to Rudi Koertzen

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Umpires and former colleagues have paid tribute to Rudi Koertzen, the former Emirates ICC Elite Panel umpire who tragically passed away on 9 August in a car accident in Riversdale, South Africa.

The South African officiated 331 matches, the second highest by any umpire in international cricket, in a career that spanned nearly two decades. 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.

A revered and much-loved member of the cricketing community, Koertzen's untimely passing sent shockwaves across the world.

Tributes have since poured in, cherishing the legacy of Koertzen. Some of the most touching memories were shared by his colleagues, from both on and off the field. Excerpts:  

Rod Tucker (Australian umpire)

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. 

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.

Marais Erasmus (South African umpire)

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.

Aleem Dar (Pakistani umpire)

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. May God grant him peace.

Vincent van der Bijl (former ICC Senior Umpire and Referees Manager)

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.

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