A cricket enthusiast since his youth, Koertzen played league cricket and became an umpire in 1981. His "slow death" style of indicating that a batsman is out makes him at once recognisable anywhere in the cricket world.
He officiated his first One Day International match of South Africa v India at Port Elizabeth, 9 December 1992 and his first match as an umpire in a Test match came in the South Africa vs India series in Port Elizabeth, 26-29th December 1992, which was also the first series to see the use of television replays for assisting umpiring decisions.
He became a full-time ICC umpire in 1997, and was one of the original members of the Emirates ICC Elite umpire panel when it was founded in 2002. He is one of just three umpires from the original elite panel who have maintained their place (the others being Steve Bucknor and Daryl Harper). He has officiated more ODIs than anyone, having overtaken David Shepherd's record of 172 matches with the World Cup match between England and West Indies at Barbados in April 2007. He was the second man to stand in 150 ODIs with the match between India and Pakistan at Abu Dhabi in April 2006. His professionalism has seen him through some controversial moments, especially in relation to being approached by people wishing to fix the results of matches in 1999. He is also highly regarded by the players; he was officially voted the top umpire in 2002, and was nominated for the Umpire of the Year award in 2005 and 2006, finishing 3rd on both occasions behind Simon Taufel, who won on both occasions, and Aleem Dar, who was second on both occasions.
He has been appointed to several high profile matches including India-Pakistan series and Ashes series (he was one of the umpires during the famous 2005 Ashes). In the 2003 Cricket World Cup he officiated on-field in one of the semi-finals and was the third umpire in the final, and reprised those role in the 2007 Cricket World Cup. He has also been the on-field umpire for the final of the Champions Trophy in both 2004 and 2006. He was also selected to umpire in the ICC SuperSeries (Australia v World XI) in 2005, along with Taufel, Dar and Darrell Hair. His goal is to umpire 100 tests and 200 ODIs before he retires.
For the role he played in the 2007 World Cup Final Fiasco, Koertzen has been stood down from officiating in the 20Twenty World Championship in September.
On November 21, 2007, Koertzen received critical media attention for his umpiring error in the 2nd Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in Hobart. Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara, while batting on 192, and in some of the form of his life, was controversially given out by Koertzen. A short ball from Stuart Clark thudded into the Sangakkra's shoulder and helmet and Koertzen incorrectly judged him caught at slip..
|Tests||South Africa v India at Port Elizabeth, Dec 1992||New Zealand v England at Napier, Mar 2008||90|
|ODIs||South Africa v India at Port Elizabeth, Dec 1992||Australia v India at Sydney, Mar 2008||190|
|20/20s||South Africa v Pakistan at Johannesburg, Jan 2007||South Africa v West Indies at Johannesburg, Jan 2008||2|
Forthcoming International Appointments
|Team 1||Team 2||Match||Date||Venue|
|Sri Lanka||India||2nd Test||31 July - 4 August, 2008||Galle|
ICC Bronze Bails Award for 100 ODIs.