Saturday, June 5, 2010


Fading away soon...
The ongoing India - Sri Lanka ODI is Rudi Koertzen's 207th as an umpire... a world record, which he grabbed when he overtook Shep's tally of 172 in 2007. Rudi has also officiated in 106 Tests and 14 Twenty20s thus far.

He will end his career after the second Pakistan - Australia Test at Headingley, Leeds that starts on 21st July.

He has officiated in a lot of matches... but my best memory of him would be of the umpire who signalled the six hit by Sachin Tendulkar to Shoaib Akhtar at Centurion in the 2003 World Cup.

As an Indian, there is no way that I can forget that match. It is etched in my memory... along with certain strokes played by the Master... the famous upper cut being one of them. I remember the commentators at the time of that stroke were Ramiz Raja and Ravi Shastri... and a lot of other random facts about that match.

Rudi was a part of that match... a part of history! He has a good career. There were a few controversies... like the 2007 World Cup final, where he was the TV umpire. That was one big fiasco! He had to suffer the humiliation of being excluded from the umpiring squad of the inaugural World Twenty20 Championship later that year as a direct consequence of that final.

But he has always been well respected. The South African umpire will end his career more than 17 and a half years after officiating in his first international fixture... an ODI between South Africa and India at Port Elizabeth on December 9, 1992. The man whose left arm has signalled numerous 'slow deaths' for various batsmen will no longer serve the game of cricket. We wish you well for your future, Rudi!

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