Harpreet Singh may have been in line to be picked up by an IPL (Indian Premier League) franchise as a reward for his consistent performances for Madhya Pradesh in domestic cricket. He had just top-scored in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, at a strike-rate of 145. In one innings, he smashed 92 in just 51 balls.
But on the same day of the IPL auction, an India Under-19 team cricket player Harmeet Singh drove his car on to the Andheri railway station platform in Mumbai and was arrested.
Technically that shouldn't have been a concern for Harpreet though - he would be forgiven for overlooking a fellow cricketer's exploits given the excitement from the prospect of an IPL contract. But as it turned out, Harpreet's name came and went and nobody bid for him at the IPL auction.
The reason? Harmeet Singh had been arrested after getting into an accident.
So here's what happened - in the reporting of a story of a young cricketer driving a car straight onto a railway platform, newswires erroneously named Harmeet as Harpreet in their tweets.
The tweets were retweeted, liked and quote-tweeted and embedded into reports on the internet. And just like that, Harpreet became the man who drove a car onto a railway platform and Harmeet remained obscure.
ANI had tweeted (now deleted) - “Under 19 cricketer Harpreet Singh detained for driving a car straight into Andheri railway station platform last night.”
The news was corrected later on - by both ANI and PTI (Press Trust of India), but it was too late by then. Harpreet's IPL dream was crushed.
“I’m mentally disturbed… Mera naam toh kharab ho gaya na (I have got a bad name). 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. 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,” Harpreet told The Indian Express.
A franchise official also told the newspaper that they were willing to buy Harpreet until they saw the news on Twitter.
But while Harpreet is clearly crushed by the prospect of losing out on a dream because someone else got into an accident, he could still be picked up in case an injury rids a team of a batsman. They just need to ensure they don't offer a contract to Harmeet by mistake.