Harpreet Singh laid claim to a dubious record in the Indian Premier League (IPL) today (April 15), taking top spot on the list of longest gaps between IPL appearances.

He last played over a decade ago, earning three caps for Pune Warriors India across 2011 and 2012 after making his debut in 2010. His debut for Punjab Kings – second from bottom in the IPL betting for IPL 2023 – ended a gap of 3,962 days between appearances, the longest ever in IPL history, overtaking Matthew Wade’s record.

There is undoubtedly plenty contributing to Harpreet’s lengthy absence – and given he’s only 31, he could yet have a lengthy IPL career. But one thing that didn’t help was a bizarre case of mistaken identity in 2017 – with former India U19 cricketer and IPL player Harpreet Singh confused with former India U19 cricketer and IPL player Harmeet Singh, with damaging effects.

Then, Harmeet found himself in trouble with the law, driving a car along a train station platform leading to his arrest. However, shortly after the arrest, ANI News erroneously tweeted “Under 19 cricketer Harpreet Singh detained for driving a car straight into Andheri railway station platform last night.”

Coming days before the IPL auction, the error was disastrous for Harpreet – who, to be clear, had done nothing wrong. He went unsold, to much surprise. When the Indian Express probed into the matter, a ‘franchise official’ told them: “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. But later, when the auction got over, we came to know it was Harmeet and not Harpreet.”

ANI News later tweeted a clarification, but the damage had been done. “Mera naam toh kharab ho gaya na (my image has been tarnished),” Harpreet told the Indian Express. “How can one clear that? 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.”

Now, at last, Harpreet has the chance to make up for lost time.