LEEDS, United Kingdom — Leading cricket officials paid tribute to Rudi Koertzen as the South African prepared to bow out as an umpire in the second Pakistan-Australia Test starting at Headingley here on Wednesday.
The match, which is also the series finale, marks the end of the 61-year-old's career as a top-flight umpire, which will have encompassed 108 Tests, a record 209 one-day internationals and 14 Twenty20 internationals.
"He is one of the most highly respected umpires of the game and we wish him the best of luck in his final Test tomorrow (Wednesday)," said International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat, in a statement issued on Tuesday.
"It is somewhat fitting Rudi's final appointment before retiring from the Elite Panel is to officiate in the pinnacle of our great sport, Test cricket."
His sentiments were echoed by Vincent van der Bijl, also a South African and an outstanding fast-medium bowler in the years when the country was banned from international cricket because of apartheid.
Van der Bijl, now the ICC umpires and referees manager, added: "Rudi can be proud of the respect and affection that he has generated among his fellow umpires as well as captains, players and administrators alike.
"We all applaud him for his professionalism, integrity and for being such a fine team player in the officiating ranks.
"His character, warmth and sheer love of cricket will remain with us and be a beacon for those who follow," said van der Bijl of Koertzen, renowned for his deliberately slow method of giving batsmen out.
"We hope the Headingley crowd give Rudi the reception that his outstanding career deserves. He is special and he will be remembered as one of the greats of the umpiring fraternity."
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