RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
Slow Death

Slow Death - Memoirs of a cricket umpire
Rudi Koertzen with Chris Schoeman
Foreword by Jacques Kallis

Published by Published by Zebra Press
South Africa
website: www.zebrapress.co.za

Distributed in Great Britain by New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd.,
Garfield House, 86-88 Edgware Road
London W2 2EA, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7724 7773
+44 (0) 20 7724 6184
Website : www.newhollandpublishers.com

Ester Catala ( Export Executive)
E-mail: ecatala@nhpub.co.uk

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Rudi Koertzen was one of world cricket's most experienced and respected umpires. In a career spanning 30 years, he stood in 108 Test matches and 209 One Day Internationals. To date, he is the only umpire to have stood in 200 ODIs.

In a nice Foreword, Jacques Kallis says: "Thanks, Rudi, for what you have given to cricket over such a long period of time. The way you have lived your love for the game has been an example and inspiration to all involved in the sport. It is indeed a privilege to have written a foreword to your autobiograhy. I know that one day you will hang up your white coat, but your passion for the bat and the ball will live on."

Rudi, a member of the ICC's Elite Panel of Umpires in 2002, was a strong supporter of the Umpire Decision Review System and wanted to be implemented across all the series.

The slow and deliberate way in which he raised his fatal finger to exterminate a batsman's innings had given rise to the nickname, which, in turn, gives his memoir, Slow Death, its title.

Humorous, informative and nostalgic, Slow Death is the book every cricket fan will want to own. Rudi takes the reader back to some of the highlights of his career in Tests, ODIs and T20 matches, including several World Cups and Ashes series.

Rudi Koertzen, in his introductory chapter of the book, released last year, says: "Today I am very happy with and content in the knowledge that I have stood in 100 Tsts and 200 ODIs - a milestone no one had achieved before me. To date, I'm also the only international umpire to have stood in 200 ODIs. For someone who started international umpiring relatively late in life, these milestones have been a huge personal achievement and a wonderful dream come true. The only objective that has passed me by all these years was standing in an ICC (International Cricket Council) World Cup final. I was third umpire in 2003 in South Africa and in 2007 in the West Indies. But with the next World Cup only due in 2011, and my retirement imminent, standing in the final may forever remain an unaccomplished goal."

From his unique perspective, Rudi rates the cricketers he has umpired over the years - the best batsmen, bowlers and fielders - and gies reasons why they stand out from other players. He shares players' hilarous on-field antics and, on occasion, histrionics. And he doesn't shy away from discussing the controversial side of international cricket, from match fixing to terrorist attacks, while giving his frank and possibly controverisal views on the use of technology in the game.

Rudi considers Sachin Tendulkar a wonderful player. "A small man, but big in heart and match temperament. And arguably the finest player of spin bowling I have seen in my time. Tendulkar's success can be attributed to his tremendous ability to focus - one is almost surprised that his highest score is only 248 not out! He has perfect balance, excellent anticipation and a full range of shots; when he wants to, he can improvise as well."

Rudi is of the view that "for sheer batting brutality, no one can emulate Adam Gilchrist. His 204 against South Africa at the Wanderers in 2002 was the most ruthless display of stroke play I've seen in my time."

Shane Warne is the bowler who stands out for Rudi. "He used to get the best out of the umpires by putting a lot of pressure on them. On numerous occasions he bowled from my end, and I always found him testing my decision-making. You had to concentrate extremely hard when he was bowling because he had so much variety and variation that every ball he bowled was potentially a wicket-taking delivery. Shane could spin a ball, all right, and he was right on the money from the word go; with it, he had this rare ability to improve his will on any given occasion."

A book that is always on the move and one has to keep turning the pages just to keep up with the author. Beautifully produced.