England’s record ODI defeat to South Africa in Mumbai was “an absolute massacre” says Mark Butcher, adding that the decision-making from Jos Buttler and Matthew Mott was “shambolic”.

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South Africa hammered England by 229 runs at the Wankhede yesterday (October 21), inflicting their biggest ever defeat in men’s ODIs. It was the defending champions’ third loss of the tournament, and puts them second from last in the table, above Afghanistan by just 0.002 on net run rate.

On a scorching hot day in Mumbai, Buttler won the toss and elected to bowl first, with three changes to the starting XI meaning David Willey was slated to come in at No.7 just above Adil Rashid – who was suffering from sickness. The changes also meant that England only had five bowling options in the side, with Joe Root their sole back-up option.

Speaking on the Wisden World Cup Daily podcast after the match, Butcher said: “Conventional wisdom seems to be a very last century thing doesn’t it? However, boiling hot conditions, shortening your batting lineup to have Adil Rashid batting at eight and then deciding to field in the heat of the day, leaving yourself short in the batting department is just completely and utterly baffling to me.

“Regardless of anything else, regardless of the three changes that they made – and I didn’t see them coming, I thought Woakes and Curran would probably not play but I didn’t see the change to bring Willey in as well and leave out Livingstone. I mean that blew my mind right from the off. However, the basic decisions around what you do if you win the toss and the composition of your team and how that plays into the decision you make has just completely blown my mind today. It was shambolic, none of it made any sense.

“Despite the fact that we had a couple of windows of opportunity having taken five wickets before the 40th over and it kind of looked as though damage limitation was possible, England just didn’t have the energy to be able to drive home that slender advantage that they gained. What you got in the end was an absolute massacre.

“Again, just everything about today was baffling, completely baffling. And England deserve nothing, no credit whatsoever. Jos said that he got the decision wrong at the toss, Matthew Mott fronted up at the end and said that they probably got selection wrong and got the decision at the toss wrong. That’s what they get paid to do, and that was a really bad day.”

Heinrich Klaasen scored his fourth ODI hundred towards the back-end of South Africa’s innings, finishing with 109 off 67 balls. He shared a 151-run partnership with Marco Jansen off 77 balls as South Africa put 399-7 on the board. In the chase, England were reduced to 100-8 before a record ninth-wicket partnership between Mark Wood and Gus Atkinson added 70 runs off 32 balls. England were eventually bowled out for 170 in 22 overs.

“There will be all kind of inquests about not giving 50 over cricket any sort of real prominence, I suppose, in the domestic calendar,” continued Butcher on the reasons for England’s poor performance in the tournament so far. “Which I don’t think has made a massive amount of difference to this tournament but it would have been a bad look… perhaps horrendous is a team or a country that doesn’t give any real seriousness to 50-over cricket would have ended up being back-to-back 50 over champions.

“Once they got 400 on the board, once the team walked off the field as though they’d been in a battle – it wasn’t like they’d just done 50 overs in the field, it was like they’d done 250 overs in the field. They all looked absolutely wrecked. There was no way on earth they were chasing it, they wouldn’t have chased 300 in the state they were in. I’m telling you, they were absolutely cooked… The conditions were extreme and we made the decision off our own bat to go out there and field in the harshest of it, and picked a team that was not equipped to then go and chase down whatever they set. It was just madness.”

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After the match, England head coach Matthew Mott revealed that Reece Topley, who had copped a blow to his left index finger early in South Africa’s innings for which he spent significant time off the field, had sustained a suspected broken finger. If confirmed, the injury will likely rule him out of the tournament. Mott also confirmed that, although named as the only travelling reserve, Jofra Archer would not replace Topley in the squad if ruled out.

“Topley came back in and he’s got a fracture in that finger so he had a massive splint on when he came out to field,” said Butcher. “Even that was bizarre, he came back on with his forefinger and his middle finger taped together and you think, well he’s coming back out because he can bowl straight away. He came back out and didn’t bowl for ten overs. Why did he come back on? There was no reason for him to come back on. Just nothing made any sense from England today, nothing at all.

“If England do have to replace Reece Topley, my guess would be that they call up Brydon Carse and then at least they have someone who is a bonafide middle-overs bowling. It’s the role they’ve been grooming him for but he didn’t make it into the squad in the first place. So it’s yet more muddled thinking. Jofra is not ready to come in and take his place in the side, what is he doing there and why was he named as a replacement? The whole thing is completely and utterly mad.”

After the match, Buttler conceded that he “potentially should have batted first”. On Buttler’s position as England men’s white-ball captain going forward, Butcher said: “I think the time perhaps to answer that is once the whole thing is done. Although it has been my suspicion and was even up to the World T20 that perhaps there wasn’t as much clarity of thought and vision and certainly not the same tactical acumen moving from Morgan to Jos. Fabulous player, one of England’s very very best. But my suspicion is he doesn’t quite have his finger on the pulse, he doesn’t read the game quite as well as the guy who was before him.

“But at this moment in time they have what they have. And talking about whether they’re the right people going forward is something that we should do once it’s done.”