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Rudi Koertzen, the South African umpire, has announced his retirement from officiating in international cricket: his last Test will be the Pakistan-Australia fixture at Headingley from July 21 to 25. The ICC have added Marais Erasmus, from South Africa, and Rodney Tucker, from Australia, to the Elite Panel of Umpires for 2010-11 to replace Koertzen and Mark Benson, who stepped down from the panel in February.
Koertzen, 61, has officiated in 106 Tests, a record 209 ODIs and 14 Twenty20 internationals. His first international match was the ODI between between South Africa and India in Port Elizabeth on December 9, 1992 and he made his Test debut at the same venue three weeks later.
"A distinguished career like Rudi's presents a benchmark for aspirant umpires," ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said. "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."
Koertzen is currently in Zimbabwe, where he is officiating in the tri-series involving the hosts, India and Sri Lanka. "It has been 18 incredible years for me as an international umpire and I have thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it," he said, reflecting on his career. "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."
One of the new members of the elitle panel, Tucker, is from New South Wales and Cricket Australia congratulated him on his promotion. "Rod's rise through the ranks has been meteoric but extremely well-deserved. As the first umpire to progress from CA's Project Panel to the highest level, his is a great story for Australian cricket," CA chief James Sutherland said.
"Australian umpires now comprise one third of the ICC's Elite Panel which is a significant achievement and recognition of the quality of our development pathway. CA is enthusiastic about identifying former players to remain in the game post-retirement and we expect Rod will serve as motivation for others to follow a similar path."
The umpires in the Elite Panel for 2010-11 are Billy Bowden, Aleem Dar, Steve Davis, Asoka de Silva, Billy Doctrove, Marais Erasmus, Ian Gould, Daryl Harper, Tony Hill, Asad Rauf, Simon Taufel, Rodney Tucker.