If the rules of Powerplay and use of two new balls in an innings were not enough to keep Mahendra Singh Dhoni on his toes, the timing of the five-match series against England itself is giving the India skipper sleepless nights.
To predict whether there will be dew in the evenings is very difficult at this time of the year and Dhoni feels it has made the whole series very tricky. After a resounding win in Hyderabad in the opening match on Friday, he accepted that despite odds he had chosen to bat first, and it could have easily backfired.
It didn't because after a fair amount of dew in the evenings leading to the match at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, it was very dry on Friday and the spinners did not have difficulty gripping the ball.
"Playing under lights at this time of the year is a bit of a problem because at times you will find a lot of dew and at times you won't find any. So it's very difficult. If this series was in say mid-November or December you would know that there would be dew in the evenings and pick your team accordingly. You would then blindly choose to bowl first to give your bowlers an upper hand," Dhoni said.
Since the 2006 Champions Trophy in India, which was held between October 7 and November 5 where all matches were under lights, there has never been a series in India around this time that featured all day-night matches.
In September-October 2007, when Australia came here and won 4-2, only two of the seven matches were under lights. On their return here in 2009 for another 7-match series, they yielded the same winning margin but had five matches under lights. England's 7-match series three years back, curtailed due to the Mumbai terror attacks, had only three day-night games. India beat the Aussies 1-0 in a 3-match series last year in October where the only match that gave a result was a day-night affair in Visakhapatnam. The two day matches in Kochi and Margao were washed out.
Going by English batsmen's inability to tackle spin, which was evident on Friday, playing two medium-pacers and three spinners crossed Dhoni's mind. But the unpredictability of dew made him shelve the thought.
"I think the timing of the series is wrong in a sense that if it was in April or May there would be a guarantee that there won't be any dew in the evenings. Most of the wickets at that time of the year turn a lot and the fast bowlers also get a fair bit of reverse swing going because the outfield is very dry, and so is the pitch," Dhoni said.
"But this time of the year, some of the decisions may go wrong, like winning the toss and batting first. You have to be calculative and cannot go all out with spinners," he added.