South African umpire Rudi Koertzen has made history by becoming the first man to stand in 200 One-Day Internationals.
His 200th is the second match between Ireland and Kenya in Dublin and he is set to become the second man, after Steve Bucknor, to umpire 100 Tests when he takes charge of the second Ashes Test next week.
Koertzen umpired an ODI for the first time in 1992, graduating to the Emirates Elite Panel in 2002, standing in the 1999, 2003 and 2007 World Cups as well as the 2002, 2004 and 2006 Champions Trophy and both editions of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007 and 2009.
“For someone who started umpiring very late in life, it is a huge personal achievement and a dream come true," Koertzen said. "It is really a great and satisfying feeling to achieve something as massive as this one.
“But this would not have been possible without the support, appreciation and well-wishes of so many people who have been big influences on my career. To begin with, I have to thank God for giving me the health and strength over all these years, then Brian Basson (Operations Manager, Cricket South Africa) who convinced me to hang in when the going was tough, Cricket South Africa for its blessings and lastly the ICC which provided me the wonderful opportunity to be part of our great sport and looking after me so well.
"It has been exciting 17 years in the business, one that many would envy I’m sure. Every job has highs and lows and umpiring is no exception.
“Umpiring provided me the opportunity to travel country to country, meet amazing people, understand different cultures but most importantly it was a privilege to see young talent of yesterday become stalwarts of today.
“In addition to this, I have seen our game get stronger, healthier and change from the usual five-day Test and 50-over format to the third twenty20 version. I think cricket is the only sport which has three different formats. The success and immense popularity of the three formats speak of the health of the game.
“While the sport has changed, so have the Laws over the years, I think for the better for the game. I think cricket of today is far more entertaining, challenging, demanding and competitive for the players, organisers and spectators than it was few years ago.
“All in all, it has been a very rewarding and a fascinating journey, something that I should be proud of,” he said.
© Cricket World 2009