I was reading an article and I found this line to be confusing:

Abbas shuffled along around them, in the spotlight, but not really of it. Which is something you would never have said about Asif.

From the tone of the sentence, I understand this line to mean that he shared the spotlight with the others but did not exclusively own it like Asif used to.

I particularly don't understand the use of the phrase "but not really of it".

Can someone please explain the meaning of the bolded sentence?

  • I can never make heads or tails of anything related to cricket. :D
    – Andrew
    May 25, 2018 at 4:41

1 Answer 1


It may be an allusion to a phrase from the Bible:

Be in the world but not of it

This is a well-known, and often referenced verse. (John 17 if you want to see it)

The central idea there is that some people who are trying to be "good" might find it easier to withdraw from society so they won't be influenced by "bad" people. But a person trying to be "good" should be active in society and help people, and generally be an influence for "good. So we should be (active) in the world, but should be careful not to adopt the "bad" things we see, careful not to become wordly, become "of the world".

So Abbas is in the spotlight but not allowing the spotlight to influence him, he does not put on a show or act as if he were a star. If you've ever seen a really good performer go on stage they somehow come alive, they seem to grow in the spotlight, they command the stage. Abbas is unaffected by the limelight.

  • Interesting reference to the verse from the Bible.
    – a_sid
    May 25, 2018 at 21:53

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