In December 2021, cricketer Virat Kohli was removed unceremoniously from his position of the ODI captain of India and his place was given to Rohit Sharma. Earlier on, he himself gave up his role as the captain of the Indian T20 team. The reason for his ‘demotion’ is not hard to fathom. While he had one of the best ever win-loss percentages in ODIs among modern captains (over 70 percent), most of those wins came in bilateral series. In multi-team tournaments, such as the ICC World Cups, India could not win the cup when Kohli captained. In short, Kohli could not lead his team to wins in important games.
‘Chase-master’ and Captain Kohli became ‘choker’ and ‘the-cause-of-pain Kohli’ when he scored 5 off 9 as India chased 339 for a win in the Champions Trophy final versus Pakistan in 2017. That’s not all. He made 1 off 6 when India chased 240 for a place in the World Cup ODI final versus New Zealand in 2019. We are not done yet. He made 13 off 29 balls in the crucial second innings in the 2021 World Test Championship’s final after India and New Zealand scored almost equally in the first innings. However, his counterpart Kane Williamson made 52 runs to take his team, New Zealand, to the Test World Cup win. Kohli made underwhelming 9 off 17 when his team depended on him to reach a match-winning first innings score in the crucial T20 Super 12 game versus New Zealand in the World Cup T20 2021.
So, Kohli has had a sub-20 score in four crucial innings for India as a limited overs Captain (a far cry from his average as an ODI captain which is nearly 73 runs per innings). This analysis tells the story clearly: when the game gets big, captain Kohli underperforms as a batsman. When his team needed him the most, Kohli would get out early. Hence this unceremonious removal from captaincy and handing over of the mantle to Rohit Sharma, an accomplished captain who is known to take the team he captains to big tournament wins (he has led Mumbai Indians to five IPL titles already while Kohli has never led his team Royal Challengers Bangalore even to a single title win).
Kohli reminds me of Samson of the Bible. While Samson was so keen to keep ritualistic laws as a Nazirite, he was not that keen to keep the far more important laws which concerned his personal holiness, expected of all Nazirites—“They must be holy…” (Num. 6:5) and “…they are consecrated to the LORD” (Num. 6:8). He would often talk about not having his hair cut (see Num 6:5 and Jud 13:5) but he did not cut off his sexually immoral relationship with many women. What was easy to do—ritualistic purity part—Samson did with great consistency till a point; but what was even more important—moral holiness (see Micah 6:7–8)—Samson blew it. Are we like Samson?
Empowered by the Spirit (Rom 8:13; Gal 5:16), let us please God in key matters such as sexual purity (I Cor 6:18b). When we sin sexually, we directly oppose God’s clearly expressed will (I Thess 4:3) which is on the same important level as his will to welcome everyone for salvation (3 Peter 3:9; I Tim 2:4). When we live stubbornly in sexual sin we will go to hell (Rev 21:7–8). But that is not God’s desire for us! God’s desire is that we overcome sin when sin’s allurements come knocking!