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From Virender Sehwag to Yuvraj Singh: Cricket fraternity mourns legendary umpire Rudi Koertzen’s sudden demise


Legendary cricket umpire Rudi Koertzen has passed away in a car accident while driving from Cape Town to Despatch in Eastern Cape in South Africa. Koertzen’s son, Rudi Koertzen jr, confirmed the news, stating that his father was returning home to Despatch after playing golf on the weekend.

“He went on a golf tournament with some of his friends, and they were expected to come back on Monday, but it seems they decided to play another round of golf,” Koertzen Jr told Algoa FM News – a South African website.

Notably, Koertzen was part of the ICC’s elite panel of umpires for eight years from 2002 and officiated in 331 international matches. Koertzen was a popular umpire amongst the cricketers and fans across the world, especially for his unique style. He went by the nickname ‘Slow Death’ because he had a style of taking some time to raise his finger while giving a batter out.

No wonder the tragic death of Koertzen, aged 73, has hit the cricket community hard, and a host of players – past and present – took to social media to express their sadness, admiration and sympathies.

Former India opener Virender Sehwag wrote a heartwarming note on social media and paid his condolences to Koertzen’s family. Sehwag also shared an anecdote about when he had gifted cricket pads to Koertzen’s son.

“Vale Rudi Koertzen! Om Shanti. Condolences to his family. Had a great relation with him. Whenever I used to play a rash shot, he used to scold me, saying, “Play sensibly, I want to watch your batting”.,” Sehwag wrote on Twitter.

“Once, he wanted to buy a particular brand of cricket pads for his son and enquired about it from me. I gifted him, and he was so grateful. A gentleman and a very wonderful person. Will miss you, Rudi. Om Shanti,” he added.

Former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh termed Koertzen one of the finest umpires the game has witnessed while paying tribute to him.

“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,” tweeted Yuvraj.

Popular broadcaster Alan Wilkins took to Twitter and wrote: “Have just heard tragic news out of South Africa that former ICC Test Umpire, Rudi Koertzen, has died in a car accident, aged 73. Rudi was such a personality in the game and an outstanding umpire. Thoughts with Rudi’s family right now. RIP Rudi Koertzen.”

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