Dubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) today confirmed that Emirates Elite Panel umpire Rudi Koertzen had announced his retirement from officiating, effective at the end of his upcoming Test assignments in England.
Koertzen`s last assignment as an elite panelist will be the second and final Test between Pakistan and Australia to be played at Headingley from July 21 to 25. He will also officiate in the first Test between the two sides to be staged at Lord`s from July 13 to 17.
It will bring down the curtain on an outstanding career in top-level umpiring in which Koertzen would have stood in 106 Tests, a record 209 ODIs and 14 T20Is.
Koertzen, born on March 26, 1949 in Knysna, Cape Province, made his ODI debut on 9 December 1992 in a match between South Africa and India in Port Elizabeth and three weeks later at the same venue and between the same opponents stood in his first Test match.
ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: "A distinguished career like Rudi`s presents a benchmark for aspirant umpires.
"Rudi is a role model for many of the younger-generation umpires and his distinguished career sets a standard for them to emulate.”
"He is one of the most respected umpires in the game and has always been confident and self motivated yet humble. It is why he has been comfortably able to embrace the core values of the traditional game with the technological advances in recent times.”
"It will be a pleasure for me to pay tribute to Rudi who had grown up in the same city where I had grown up. His outstanding service to the game and a wonderful career at the elite level needs acknowledgement" added Mr Lorgat.
Koertzen, who is currently officiating in the triangular ODI series in Zimbabwe, reflecting on his career, said: "It has been 18 incredible years for me as an international umpire and I have thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it.
"I feel humbled to have been trusted with this massive responsibility and awarded this great opportunity to see cricket revolutionise, be actively involved in some of the biggest changes, see some of the iconic players of the modern era and be part of some of the most fascinating matches.”
"If I can look back at my career with pride, it is due to the sacrifices of my family and the excellent support and backing I received from my fellow umpires and colleagues in Cricket South Africa and the ICC.”
"Even though I will retire after the Leeds Test, I`ll be more than happy to assist and help young umpires if they need my guidance as cricket also teaches us to give something back to the sport. After 18 years in business, I think it is payback time," added Koertzen.
Meanwhile, Marais Erasmus and Rodney Tucker have been included in the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires for the 2010-11 season, starting 1 July 2010. The two will replace Koertzen and Mark Benson who stepped down from the elite panel in February.
Erasmus has already umpired in two Tests, 16 ODIs and 11 T20Is.
The 46-year-old from Cape Province was a good all-rounder during his playing days, representing Boland in 53 first-class matches, scoring 1,913 runs at little under 30 besides taking 131 wickets at little over 28.ucker has so far stood in three Tests, 14 ODIs and eight T20Is.
The 45-year-old from New South Wales, is also a former first-class cricketer, having played 103 first-class matches for Australian Capital Territory (ACT), New South Wales and Tasmania in a career spanning from 1986/87 to 1998/99. As a left-handed batsman and right-arm medium-fast bowler, he scored 5,076 runs at 36 and also took 123 wickets.