Mistaken identity hurts at IPL auction

Indian Harpreet Singh says he's "mentally disturbed" after false media reports claimed he'd been arrested

A case of mistaken identity may have cost an Indian cricketer a lucrative spot in the IPL after he was incorrectly linked to a crime on the morning of this week's auction.

On Monday, various Indian news outlets incorrectly reported that in-form domestic batsman Harpreet Singh had been arrested after an incident at a railway station in Mumbai. In fact, it was a cricketer named Harmeet Singh, a left-arm spinner, who'd been taken into custody.

The pair were teammates at the 2010 Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand, which was won by an Australian side led by Mitchell Marsh and Josh Hazlewood, but have not been teammates for some time.

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The reporting of the incident was later corrected, but a devastated Harpreet says the damage had already been done.

Harpreet, who top-scored in the recent domestic Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, had entered himself in Monday's IPL auction at a base price of around AUD$39,000.

Having previously been contracted to the Kolkata Knight Riders and the now-defunct Pune Warriors, the 24-year-old was hopeful of being picked up again and says the misreporting of the incident in Mumbai earlier in the day may have cost him a contract at the auction.

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"I'm mentally disturbed," Harpreet told The Indian Express.

"How can one clear that? I am getting calls from everyone asking 'what have you done?'

Image Id: 4BF4207437214B7AA7E62A382A8DEFEC Image Caption: Harpreet bats for India's U19 side in a match in Hobart in 2009 // Getty

"I was hoping to be picked up at the IPL auction ... when my name came, the franchises must have felt 'why take a player who is in police custody?'

"I am not bothered about IPL now, it’s gone. But even if you run a search on my name on Google, the first thing that comes up is that I was arrested."

While Harpreet is one of many players disappointed to not be bought at the auction, his recent T20 form suggests he would have been a handy purchase for any side.

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He posted scores of 62, 48, 9 and 92 earlier this month in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and scored 208 runs at 69 in last year's competition.

The Indian Express also quoted an unnamed official from a mystery franchise who said they were keen to purchase Harpreet before the incorrect reports from Mumbai broke.

"We wanted to buy him, but as news came of Harpreet’s arrest, we decided not to do so since it would give the franchise a bad image," the official was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

"But later, when the auction got over, we came to know it was Harmeet and not Harpreet."