June 10, 2010


Koertzen's 'slow finger of death'

Tariq Engineer

When South African umpire Rudi Koertzen retires from international cricket next month, batsmen the world over will breathe a sigh of relief at no longer having to face his dreaded ‘slow finger of death’. In an interview with Aditya Iyer in the Indian Express, Koertzen looks back on his career and explains how his signature move came about.

Every umpire has their trademark, that was mine. The media labeled it the 'slow finger of death', I found that pretty interesting. There's a story behind it though. When my umpiring career first began, I used to hold my hands in front of me and every time there was an appeal, I would fold it against my ribs. The someone told me "Rudi, you can't do that, every time you raise your hands to fold it, the bowler thinks you're going to give him a wicket." So I started clasping my wrists at the back. The finger comes out slowly because it takes time for me to release my grasp at the back.

Tariq Engineer is a former senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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