After a wait of more than a decade, Harpreet Singh Bhatia finally got his chance to shine in the Indian Premier League. And shine he did, knocking 41 runs off just 28 balls to help his team, the Punjab Kings, beat the Mumbai Indians by 13 runs in a thrilling match last weekend. Harpreet has proven to be a valuable addition to the Kings’ batting lineup, scoring a total of 77 runs in just three games. But what makes his story even more remarkable is the fact that he has had to wait 10 years and 332 days to make his return to the IPL – the longest gap between appearances for any player in the history of the tournament. For Harpreet, it was certainly worth the wait.
Missing out on the biggest cricketing event in India was a big blow for Chhattisgarh captain Harpreet Singh. In 2017, during the IPL auction, a news agency mistakenly tweeted the name of Harpreet instead of Harmeet Singh, a former Mumbai player who was arrested for driving his car into the platform at the Andheri railway station. Even though the agency later corrected the error, the damage had already been done. This incident made the franchises apprehensive about picking a player who had been on the wrong side of the law. The mistake cost Harpreet years of his IPL career, and he had to face the consequences despite not committing any mistake. It is a stark reminder of how one mistake, even if it is not yours, can ruin a career.
Harpreet’s journey to finally playing in the IPL was not an easy one. Despite his talent, he had been overlooked by teams, and even when chosen, he had not been given the chance to showcase his skills. It must have been frustrating for the 31-year-old, who had once again been called up to play, only to be left on the bench. But Harpreet persevered, continuing to train and work on his game. Finally, six years after his last appearance, he was picked up at the auction, and the wait was over. For Harpreet, this was not just another game, it was the culmination of years of hard work and determination, and he was ready to make his mark.
Harpreet’s dedication and hard work are finally paying off this season as he looks to make up for lost time. With 420 runs in five matches, including a century and two fifties for Chhattisgarh in the Ranji Trophy, Harpreet is now proving his worth for PBKS in IPL 2023. He played a crucial role in Punjab’s victory against the Lucknow Super Giants, scoring a run-a-ball 22, and smashed a quickfire 41 against the Mumbai Indians, hitting four fours and two sixes in his 28-ball knock. His partnership with Sam Curran added a vital 92 runs for the fifth wicket, solidifying his position in the team and leaving fans eager to see what else Harpreet has in store this season.