Rudolf Eric Koertzen
March 26, 1949, Knysna, Cape Province
Rudi Koerzten is a modern umpire in the traditional mould, with an image that is a curious blend of old and new - his flat white cap is offset by a pair of wraparound shades that rarely leave his face except in the poorest of conditions, while his trademark is a dalek-like, super slow (and getting slower) raise of the fatal finger to exterminate a batsman's innings.
A lifelong fan of the game, Koerzten played league cricket while working as a clerk on the South African railways, but soon turned his hand to umpiring in 1981. He first stood in a Test at the age of 43, at Port Elizabeth in 1992-93, the first series in which TV replays were used to judge run-out decisions. Appointed as a full-time ICC umpire in 1997 - and a member of the elite panel in 2002 - he leaves little to chance by putting in regular sessions in the gym, as well as long hours in front of the TV studying the techniques - and previous dismissals - of the batsmen at his mercy.
In September 1999, he was praised for his swift refusal of a bribe prior to the Coca-Cola Cup final between West Indies and India in Singapore, and four months later he was once again at the sharp end of the match-fixing crisis, when he stood in the now-infamous Centurion Test between South Africa and England. In April 2007 he stood in the World Cup final in Barbados, but the farcical finale of that match - and his role in misinterpreting the rules regarding bad light - led to his suspension for the Twenty20 World Championships in September.
Koerzten is not immune to the pressures of the job, and in 2000-01 his errors contributed to one of the most fractious matches of modern times, the second Test between Sri Lanka and England at Kandy. Nevertheless, he retains the respect of the players, and an enthusiasm that enables him to spend more than 240 days of the year away from his wife and four children. In 2007 he broke David Shepherd's record of standing in 172 ODIs.
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