Sam Curran admits he has struggled to cope with going from player of the tournament at the last T20 World Cup to fighting for a place in their title defence.

The all-rounder was the beating heart of the side’s triumph in Australia in 2022, where his left-arm swing became a match-winning weapon. He topped the wicket charts with 13 in six games and produced a decisive turn of three for 12 in the final against Pakistan.

But a little more than 18 months down the line he finds himself a less striving to break into the first-choice XI in the Caribbean, with his best chance of featuring in England’s first Super 8 game against the West Indies seemingly an injury doubt over Liam Livingstone’s side.

England all-rounder Liam Livingstone holding his training kit at Sophia Gardens.
All-rounder Liam Livingstone is an injury doubt for Wednesday’s Super 8 game against the West Indies (Bradley Collyer/PA)

He did not make the cut for the first three group games and only made the fourth, against Namibia, after rain reduced the game to 10 overs a side and forced a rethink.

With Livingstone reduced to a brief batting session at England’s first net in St Lucia before returning to the team hotel for treatment, Curran could hold his place in the early hours of Thursday morning but does not shy away from his altered status.

“It’s been hard to be honest, very difficult,” he said.

“I feel like England is a team I’ve done really well for but I guess it shows the strength of our squad at the moment. I know in my mind an opportunity is going to come so I’ve tried not to get too down on myself. Maybe it will be the World Cup final where I get that nod.

“It’s just really great to be at a World Cup again. I’ve got some great memories so I’ll just stay positive.

“I’ll have two days good training here and if I get in that 11, I’ll be trying to make sure I stay in it. There’s nothing worse than when you get left out and you’re not ready, so I’ll make sure I’m ready. I’ve got to keep that mindset.”

England are hoping to find their feet properly in the second phase of the competition after edging through the group stage on net run-rate following three rain-affected games and a thumping defeat to Australia.

Things are about to speed up considerably, with South Africa and the United States to follow as they play three times in five days for a place in the semi-finals.

The Daren Sammy Stadium – named after the current West Indies coach – is renowned as a quick-scoring ground and, with heavy hitters studded throughout both teams, Curran is expecting a box-office clash.

“It was a weird group stage in a way, but I think now we’ve put that behind us. This is when it really gets going at the World Cup,” he said.

“West Indies are a fantastic team in their home conditions and will be a really tough game. I’m sure the crowd will be fully behind them and we’ll be really excited to take on that team. Looking at our batting lineup, we deal in a lot of sixes as well, so I’m sure it’ll be a run-fest on Wednesday.

“We play against these guys a lot as well, so we know what they’ve got and they know what we’ve got, so it’ll be a really good game I’m sure.”

As well as monitoring Livingstone’s fitness England have a choice to make in their pace ranks, where one of Chris Jordan, Mark Wood and Reece Topley may miss out. Jordan has the death bowling smarts and superior batting, Wood the knockout pace and Topley the variety of extra height and left-arm angle, meaning a tight selection call awaits.