RCB sign Singh after IPL auction mix-up

Unsigned on auction day after media reports falsely linked him to a crime, Indian cricketer earns last-minute call-up to T20 tournament

An unlucky cricketer whose chances of an Indian Premier League berth took a hit after a disastrous case of mistaken identity has earnt a late call-up with the star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore.

On the morning of February's lucrative IPL auction, 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. 

Quick Single: Mistaken identity hurts at IPL auction

In fact, it was a cricketer named Harmeet Singh, a left-arm spinner, who'd been taken into custody.

The reporting of the incident was later corrected, but it appeared at the time that the mistake may have caused cashed-up IPL clubs from bidding for Harpreet, who'd set his base price at around AUD$39,000.

So after his 11th hour call-up to the Virat Kohli-led franchise as a replacement for the injured Sarfaraz Khan, the 25-year-old admitted he was "thrilled" to get his chance in this year's tournament.

Ponting on the art of coaching

"Initially, when I wasn't picked in the auction, I was a little upset because I thought I would make it considering I was the highest run-getter in the domestic T20 event," said Harpreet, who posted scores of 62, 48, 9 and 92 in February's Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

"There was no clarity on whether I wasn't picked because of the confusion in names or some other reason, so that bothered me a little.

"I never gave up hope and kept working hard because I believed I may get my chances during the course of the tournament. I was thrilled when I got the RCB call-up two to three days ago.

"At RCB, I'm looking forward to interacting with the current international stars and watching them from close quarters. It is going to be a great learning experience for me and I'm looking forward to this new beginning."

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Harpreet and Harmeet 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. 

Having previously been contracted to the Kolkata Knight Riders and the now-defunct Pune Warriors, Harpreet had high hopes going into this year's auction but was left distraught after the blunder.

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

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

"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?'

"Even if you run a search on my name on Google, the first thing that comes up is that I was arrested."

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While Harpreet had all but given up on playing in the 10th edition of the T20 competition, the IPL confirmed his signing with RCB on Thursday after the former Indian Under-19s representative trained with his new teammates on Wednesday. 

The Royal Challengers next play on Sunday at Eden Gardens against Harpreet's former side Kolkata.

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